Neolithic long barrow 575m NNW of Moon Wood, one of a pair of long barrows known as Deadmen's Graves


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013921

Date first listed: 23-Aug-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Feb-1996


Ordnance survey map of Neolithic long barrow 575m NNW of Moon Wood, one of a pair of long barrows known as Deadmen's Graves
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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: Claxby St. Andrew

National Grid Reference: TF 44421 71981

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 575m NNW of Moon Wood survives as a substantial undisturbed earthwork clearly visible from the public highway. It is largely intact and will retain rare archaeological deposits beneath the mound and in the fills of the buried ditch. These will contain valuable information relating to the dating and construction of the monument and the sequence of mortuary ritual at the site. Environmental evidence preserved in the same features will contain information on the nature of the landscape in which the monument was constructed and used. The long barrow is one of a closely associated pair known as Deadmen's Graves which are thought to be the only such pair of mounded long barrows now visible as earthworks in Lincolnshire. This close association indicates the ritual significance of the location during the prehistoric period.


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow located 50m above sea level below the summit of a spur above the source of the Burlands Beck, c.575m NNW of Moon Wood. It is one of a pair of closely associated mounded long barrows known collectively as Deadmen's Graves. The long barrow is aligned approximately ENE-WSW, following a contour of the hill, which falls away steeply below this point. The mound measures approximately 53m long and its width decreases from c.14m at the east end to little more than 1.5m at the west. The eastern end stands to a height of about 2m, decreasing over the length of the mound to ground level. The barrow's profile is interrupted by a saddle traversing the mound at a point some 20m from the eastern end, a feature which is common to a number of Lincolnshire long barrows and which may have been caused by the collapse of internal mortuary structures. The mound is undisturbed by ploughing but, because of the sloping nature of the field, there is an accumulation of ploughsoil against the northern flank. No archaeological investigation is known to have taken place and the mound is thought to be largely intact. Material for the mound would have been quarried from an encircling causewayed ditch, and while this ditch is no longer visible, it is thought to survive beneath the present ground surface. The second long barrow of this closely associated pair, which is the subject of a separate scheduling, lies c.150m to the ESE.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 10 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: 27864

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing