Reasons for Designation
Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking
ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic
periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early
farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments
surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows
appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the
human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide
evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and,
consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites
for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 long
barrows are recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic
structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their
considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are
considered to be nationally important.
Despite partial excavations, the Poleswood East long barrow survives well and
is known to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the
monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. This barrow is a good
example representing a group of long barrows commonly referred to as the
Cotswold-Severn group, named after the area in which they occur.
The monument includes a long barrow situated near to the crest of a ridge
overlooking a valley to the south in the area of the Cotswold Hills.
The long barrow, known as the Poleswood East long barrow, has a mound composed
of small stones. This is oval in plan and orientated north-south with maximum
dimensions of 23.3m long, 19m wide and c.1m high. The upper area of the mound
has an uneven appearance which is likely to be the result of an antiquarian
excavation at the site in 1875-6 by Royce and Rolleston. This revealed, near
to the middle of the mound, a transverse chamber which was partly underground,
and which contained the remains of 19 human skeletons, animal bones, worked
flint and an Early Neolithic bowl. Three Saxon period burials were also
recovered from the mound, demonstrating later deposition at the site. There is
also a quarry situated on the north-eastern side of the monument, 8m in
diameter and c.2m deep, although this may be a more recent feature.
The barrow had a forecourt or recess flanked by extensions of the mound on
either side and fronted by a `false entrance` or blocked doorway which was
never attached to an inner chamber.
The monument is recorded as `Haettas Lawe` in the 1055 land charter.
This long barrow is one of a group of three known in the locality, all of
which would originally have been intervisible.
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.