Long barrow at South Fen, 180m south east of Between Ditches Drove


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009994

Date first listed: 15-Dec-1994


Ordnance survey map of Long barrow at South Fen, 180m south east of Between Ditches Drove
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cambridgeshire

District: East Cambridgeshire (District Authority)

Parish: Sutton

National Grid Reference: TL 42120 77617


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 examples of long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded nationally. 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.

The long barrow at South Fen survives exceptionally well, having been protected by the overlying fen deposits of clay and peat, and will contain a wide range of archaeological information. Evidence for timber structures will be preserved in the mound and the soils buried beneath it, in addition to evidence relating to activity on the site, the manner and duration of use of the barrow, and the construction of the mound. Organic material contemporary with the barrow, including evidence of the local environment at that time, will be preserved in the waterlogged deposits in the ditches. The survival also, beneath the overlying deposits, of a contemporary ground surface surrounding the barrow, is very unusual. The barrow has additional interest as one of a group of several monuments of Neolithic date which have been identified in the vicinity, including another long barrow at Foulmire Fen, Haddenham, approximately 1km to the south west, and two large earthwork enclosures at Haddenham and at Horseley Fen, Chatteris, respectively.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a long barrow, located on a gravel terrace to the east of the old course of the River Ouse and largely buried beneath later deposits of marine clay and peat. The barrow is marked on the modern ground surface by a low, spread mound of lighter coloured, slightly sandy soil, approximately 0.4m in height and covering an area with dimensions of approximately 55m north east - south west by 27m north west - south east. Below this, underlying the peat and clay, is an earthen mound which, according to measurements taken by means of borehole samples, is approximately 18m wide, stands to a height of 1.2m above the original ground surface, and is surrounded by a ditch approximately 5m wide and 0.8m deep in relation to the same surface. The ditch contains waterlogged deposits, covered and sealed by the marine clay which was deposited early in the Bronze Age.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 4 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 20806

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hall, D N, Palmer, R, Fenland Evaluation Project: Cambridgeshire, (1990)
Shand, P, Hodder, I, 'Fenland Research' in Haddenham - The Foulmire Fen Long Barrow, , Vol. 5, (1988), 2-6
Shand, P, Hodder, I, 'Fenland Research' in Haddenham Project - The Long Barrow, , Vol. 4, (1987), 36-38
Hall, DN, (1993)

End of official listing