Ash Holt long barrow


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013890

Date first listed: 28-Nov-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Feb-1996


Ordnance survey map of Ash Holt long barrow
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Nov-2018 at 17:28:53.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: North East Lincolnshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Beelsby

County: Lincolnshire

District: West Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Swallow

National Grid Reference: TA 18981 01089


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 Ash Holt is clearly visible from the Thorganby - Swallow road. The monument survives well and will contain rare and valuable archaeological deposits dating and illustrating the construction of the barrow and the sequence of Neolithic mortuary practices on the site. Environmental evidence will also be preserved beneath the mound and within the buried silts of the quarry ditch, including information on the landscape in which the barrow was constructed and used.

Ash Holt long barrow is the most northerly of a group of similar monuments located along the valley of the Waithe Beck, an association which poses wider questions concerning patterns of Neolithic settlement and mortuary practice.


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 76m above sea level on the eastern edge of Ash Holt, a large spinney c.1.4km east of the village of Cuxwold, and immediately to the west of the Thorganby-Swallow road. The barrow stands at the upper end of a minor valley running down to the Croxby and Waithe Becks. The barrow mound is approximately 26m long and between 5m and 16m wide with a SSW-NNE alignment. It stands to a height of about 1.5m at the wider, southern end, gradually tailing off along its length to c.0.3m. There is evidence of some disturbance at the southern end but it is otherwise apparently undisturbed. The quarry ditch cannot be seen but is thought to survive buried beneath the present ground surface. The former parish boundary respected the existence of the mound, deviating slightly from an otherwise straight course, to include it within Swallow parish.

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: 27869

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing