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Long barrow on Therfield Heath

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Long barrow on Therfield Heath

List entry Number: 1010428


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hertfordshire

District: North Hertfordshire

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Therfield

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 10-Aug-1923

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Jul-1992

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 20635

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 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 on two separate occasions, the Therfield Heath long barrow survives comparatively well in close association with a later round barrow cemetery. Combined, these give an indication of the development of later Prehistoric society and the intensity of settlement in this area of downland.


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


The monument includes a long barrow situated on the crest of a north-facing slope on Therfield Heath, nearly 100m south-east of a Bronze Age round barrow cemetery. It includes a trapezoidal earthern mound aligned east-west and measuring 45m in length by 22m across at the eastern end and narrowing slightly to 15m at the western end. In height the mound measures c.2m at the western end rising to c.3m at the broader eastern end. Although no longer visible at ground level, flanking quarry ditches, from which the material was quarried during the construction of the monument, run parallel to the north and south sides of the mound. These have become infilled over the years but survive as buried features c.2m wide. The barrow was partially excavated by E B Nunn in 1855 and again in 1935 by C W Phillips. One cremation and one inhumation were uncovered at the eastern end of the barrow whilst at the western end two cists and another inhumation were discovered. Recorded finds included pottery from the Early Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age, an iron spearhead and a metal band which would have been fitted to the end of a stick, known as a ferrule, from the Anglo-Saxon period.

MAP EXTRACT 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.

Selected Sources

NAR No TL 63 SE 9, Information from NAR,
Phillips, C W, PPS Excavation Report, (1935)

National Grid Reference: TL 34151 40166


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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1010428 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 24-Sep-2018 at 08:49:02.

End of official listing