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 excavation, Windmill Tump long barrow survives well and is
known from excavation and geophysical survey to contain archaeological and
environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it
was constructed. This barrow is a good example of 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 chambered long barrow situated on gently sloping
ground with views to the south and east.
The barrow, known variously as the Rodmarton long barrow and Windmill Tump,
has a mound trapezoidal in plan, orientated from north-east to south-west with
dimensions of 57m by 27m. The mound is composed of small stones and has a
maximum height of c.3m.
At the eastern end of the mound there is a forecourt consisting of a recess
flanked by two projections of mound. This was fronted by a `false entrance`
consisting of two standing stones and a stone lintel, blocked by a slab. The
entrance was not, however, linked with an internal passage and so could not
provide a physical means of access into the monument. Instead the `false
entrance` is likely to have been constructed at the same time as the forecourt
with which it appears associated.
The barrow is known to have at least three stone lined chambers which are
situated throughout the mound. Two chambers are situated at the eastern end of
the monument and were investigated during partial excavations conducted by
S Lysons in 1863 and E M Clifford in 1939. The 1863 excavations revealed the
northern chamber, which has a lateral entrance. It was from this northern
chamber that the remains of 13 human skeletons were recovered, along with two
leaf shaped arrowheads suggesting an earlier Neolithic date (c.3000-2500 BC).
The 1939 excavations discovered the southern chamber which is approached from
an entrance in the side of the barrow mound via a short passage leading into
the chamber. Further human remains and fragments of Neolithic pottery were
recovered from this chamber.
The excavations also recovered animal bones and traces of burning from the
forecourt. The presence of Roman material, including a coin of Claudius
Gothicus (AD 268-70), from within the body of the mound also demonstrates that
deposition continued at the site beyond the Neolithic period.
Flanking the mound on either side are ditches from which material was quarried
during the construction of the monument. These have become largely infilled
over the years, but survive as a slight earthwork c.5m wide on the south side
of the mound, and as a buried feature elsewhere. Further traces of these
ditches were revealed by a geophysical survey conducted around the site in
Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts and gates relating to the
field boundary, although the ground beneath these features is included.
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.