Top Buildings long barrow


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013887

Date first listed: 14-Jan-1969

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Top Buildings long barrow
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: West Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Normanby Le Wold

National Grid Reference: TF 13373 96403


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

Reasons for Designation

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds, generally with flanking ditches. They acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC), representing the burial places of Britain's early farming communities, and as such are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving 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 activities preceding the construction of the barrow mound, including ditched enclosures containing structures related to various rituals of burial. It is probable, therefore, that long barrows acted as important spiritual sites for their local communities over considerable periods of time. The long barrows of the Lincolnshire Wolds and their adjacent regions have been identified as a distinct regional grouping of monuments in which the flanking ditches are continued around the ends of the barrow mound, either continuously or broken by a single causeway towards one end. More than 60 examples of this type of monument are known; a small number of these survive as earthworks, but the great majority of sites are known as cropmarks and soilmarks recorded on aerial photographs where no mound is evident at the surface. Not all Lincolnshire long barrows include mounds. Current limited understanding of the processes of Neolithic mortuary ritual in Lincolnshire is that the large barrow mound represents the final phase of construction which was not reached by all mortuary monuments. Many of the sites where only the ditched enclosure is known have been interpreted as representing monuments which had fully evolved mounds, but in which the mound itself has been degraded or removed by subsequent agricultural activity. In a minority of cases, however, the ditched enclosure will represent a monument which never developed a burial mound. As a distinctive regional grouping of one of the few types of Neolithic monuments known, these sites are of great value. They were all in use over a great period of time and are thus highly representive of changing cultures of the peoples who built and maintained them. All forms of long barrow on the Lincolnshire Wolds and its adjacent regions are therefore considered to be of national importance and all examples with significant surviving remains are considered worthy of protection.

Although the mound of Top Buildings long barrow has been degraded, it survives as a substantial earthwork visible from the nearby road. The limited archaeological investigations of 1983 were inconclusive but a small quantity of worked flint was found, demonstrating that the land around the mound was a focus of attention and activity during the Neolithic period. No other excavation is known to have taken place and the monument is therefore thought to retain significant rare archaeological deposits which will provide information regarding the construction of the mound, and the chronological sequence of burial rites. Environmental evidence will also survive beneath the mound and in the buried ground surface and the ditch which will provide valuable information relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed and used. Top Buildings long barrow is one of a number of burial monuments associated with the valley of the Otby Beck which rises in the nearby Normanby Dales, and with the prehistoric trackway now formalised as High Street. The association of these monuments demonstrates the ritual significance of this chosen location and poses wider questions concerning prehistoric settlement patterns in the area.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow located 160m above sea level in an area of pasture on a plateau c.60m to the east of Top Buildings. The grassy mound is aligned south east-north west and is oval in shape, measuring approximately 65m long by 20m wide, standing to about 1.5m at its highest point in the centre. The barrow is however known from geophysical survey to have originally been larger, approximately 78m long by 42m wide, so the present barrow represents the spine of the mound. Although the ditch is infilled, its existence is indicated by the field boundary fence which runs over the south eastern end of the barrow, dipping very slightly on either side at a distance of approximately 10m from the foot of the mound. In 1983 the monument was the subject of limited archaeological investigations which were inconclusive due to adverse soil conditions. However, a small quantity of worked flint was found. The monument stands about 340m to the south west of the prehistoric trackway now formalised as High Street. It is one of a large number of Neolithic and Bronze Age burial monuments associated with the head of the Otby Beck valley. The fence and fenceposts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included.

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.


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

Legacy System number: 27855

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Phillips, P, 'BAR' in Archaeology and Landscape Studies in North Lincolnshire, , Vol. 208(i), (1989), 173-179
Text, Ancient Monuments: Lincolnshire Lindsey, (1968)

End of official listing