Neolithic long barrow in Beacon Plantation


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013888

Date first listed: 28-Nov-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Dec-1995


Ordnance survey map of Neolithic long barrow in Beacon Plantation
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: East Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Walmsgate

National Grid Reference: TF 37198 77609


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.

The Neolithic long barrow in Beacon Plantation is the largest example of extant Lincolnshire long barrows. The monument is well preserved, and while the two saddles which cross the mound were previously believed to indicate excavation, it is now thought that they represent the positions of internal structures which have collapsed. The monument will retain rare and valuable archaeological information relating to the sequence of burial rites and the dating and method of construction. Organic material retained in and under the mound and in the ditch fills will preserve environmental evidence concerning the nature of the landscape in which the monument was set. The long barrow's situation near a prehistoric trackway, conforms to the typical location of long barrows in this area. Its position on the eastern side of the valley of a tributary of the Great Eau is particularly significant in this respect. It is clearly visible from the adjacent highway providing visitors with a graphic example of this class of funerary monument.


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The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow located in a small spinney known as Beacon Plantation situated 73m above sea level on the north side of the A16 Spilsby-Louth road, c.1km south east of Walmsgate. It is aligned south east-north west and is the largest of the earthwork Lincolnshire long barrows, being approximately 83.3m long by a maximum of 19.4m wide. At the south eastern end it stands to a height of 2.15m, tailing off to the north west. The surface of the mound has been disturbed at the south eastern end where a shallow depression of about 0.25m occupies almost the whole of this area. This depression may have been caused by the construction of a medieval beacon from which the plantation takes its name. The mound width reduces rapidly, giving the barrow a tadpole-like shape. It is traversed by saddles, the first approximately 26m from the south eastern end and the second c.21m from the north western end. Two semicircular platforms occur along the south western flank, the first being approximately 8m across, and situated close to the north western end. The second measures c.11m across and is situated immediately to the south east of the north western saddle. From here the tail of the barrow changes axis in a westerly direction, a feature which has been noted at Giant's Hills long barrow, Skendleby and also at Thorganby. The monument stands approximately 600m north east of the prehistoric trackway now formalised as the Bluestone Heath Road, and on the eastern side of the valley of one of the tributaries of the Great Eau.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 12 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: 27860

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Phillips, C W, 'Archaeological Journal' in The Long Barrows of Lincolnshire, , Vol. 89, (1933), 187-189
Discussion with local landowner, Hudson, J, (1995)

End of official listing