Neolithic long barrow 300m ESE of Walesby Top Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013914

Date first listed: 23-Feb-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Neolithic long barrow 300m ESE of Walesby Top Farm
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Location

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

County: Lincolnshire

District: West Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Walesby

National Grid Reference: TF 14711 92630

Summary

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 long barrow 300m ESE of Walesby Top Farm has been degraded by ploughing, it will retain valuable archaeological deposits on and in the buried surface of the central mortuary enclosure, and in the fills of the ditch. These will contain information relating to the dating and construction of the monument and to the sequence of mortuary ritual at the site. Environmental evidence preserved in the same deposits will contain information on the nature of the landscape in which the monument was constructed and used. The long barrow lies some 980m south of a similar monument (the subject of a separate scheduling, SM 27873) and is one of a number of such monuments in the area which are associated with river valleys and with the prehistoric trackway now formalised as the High Street. The frequency of these long barrows is indicative of the ritual significance of the location and, as well as posing wider questions concerning riverine and land communications, has implications for the study of demography and settlement patterns during the prehistoric period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow located 140m above sea level below the summit of a plateau above and to the east of a tributary of the Brimmer Beck, 300m ESE of Walesby Top Farm. Although the long barrow cannot be seen on the ground it has been recorded as a soilmark on aerial photographs. The soilmark represents a mortuary enclosure covered by a mound measuring c.56m by 28m and aligned south east-north west. This enclosure would have been a focus for ritual activities accompanying the deposition of human remains, and structures and deposits relating to these activities will survive as buried features. In many cases in Lincolnshire these enclosures were, on completion of the rituals, given a low covering of scraped earth. However, the extensive spread of chalk around the enclosure of this monument is thought to indicate that this is an example of a long barrow elaborated by the construction of a large mound which has since been degraded and dispersed by ploughing. The encircling ditch from which material for the mound would have been quarried cannot be seen but is thought to survive beneath the present ground surface, evidence for its existence being obscured by the spread of chalk. The aerial photographs also show the cropmarks of a Roman building and its associated closes, centred c.100m to the west which is the subject of a separate scheduling. The monument lies approximately 980m to the south of a similar long barrow which is the subject of a separate scheduling (SM 27873), and is one of a number of such monuments in the area which are associated with river valleys and with the High Street which originated as a prehistoric trackway.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 27889

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Everson, P E, Hayes, T, Lincolnshire from the Air, (1984), 33-41
Other
discussions, Jones, D, (1995)
oblique monochrome photographs, St Joseph, J K, AKA 20, 23, (1964)

End of official listing