Long barrow 200m east of parade ground, Groves Road, Halton Camp

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013930

Date first listed: 02-Jan-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Long barrow 200m east of parade ground, Groves Road, Halton Camp
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: Buckinghamshire

District: Aylesbury Vale (District Authority)

Parish: Halton

National Grid Reference: SP 88582 09527

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 with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly 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 monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 examples of long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded nationally. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be nationally important.

The long barrow at Halton Camp is one of only three such monuments located in Buckinghamshire, and the only example to survive as an earthwork. It is therefore of considerable importance for the understanding of early prehistoric settlement in the county. The barrow is very well preserved. Despite minor disturbance caused by excavation across the central area of the mound, most of the barrow survives well. Funerary remains, which are normally clustered at the eastern end of such monuments, will have been left undisturbed by the excavation. Together with other archaeological deposits within the mound, including any evidence of an earlier mortuary structure, these remains will enable valuable insights into early burial practices, the development of the monument and the beliefs of the community which used the site. The former ground surface buried beneath the mound, and further environmental evidence from the fills of the buried quarry ditches, will illustrate the character of the surrounding area at the time the barrow was built.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a Neolithic long barrow situated some 100m to the north east of Groves Road which skirts the southern side of the parade ground at RAF Halton. The barrow, which is orientated east to west, stands on a slight spur projecting from the lower slopes of Haddington Hill, and would originally have stood out from the horizon when viewed from the valley to the south and west. The mound forms an elongated oval, c.1.2m high and approximately 45m in length and 20m in width, with slight signs of tapering towards the west. A survey of the mound made in 1925 demonstrates this tapered appearance more clearly, and records the former appearance of the eastern end which has since been altered by the construction of an adjacent horse jump and the build up of the area between it and the mound. A limited excavation in the same year revealed sequential layers of redeposited chalk, flint and clay used in the formation of the mound. The layers contained fragments of prehistoric pottery, animal bone, worked flint, burnt flint and other carbonised material. These finds are thought to have resulted from the inclusion of occupation debris from activities surrounding a mortuary enclosure subsequently buried within the mound. No evidence was found for the quarry ditches normally associated with this class of monument, although an inward facing scarp curving around the eastern end of the mound was noted on the survey, and the composition of the mound revealed by the excavation strongly suggests quarrying rather than the use of turf or topsoil. It is thought that the excavation did not extend far enough from the mound to reveal the locations of these buried features.

The barriers or horse jumps at either end of the mound are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features is included.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 27126

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, Barrows in England and Wales, (1979), 9-10
Megaw, JVS, Simpson, DDA, Introduction to British Prehistory, (1981), 91-93
Manby, T G, 'Scot Arch Forum' in Long Barrows of Northern England; Structural And Dating Evidence, , Vol. 2, (1970), 13
Reader, F W, 'Records of Buckinghamshire' in A Discovery at Halton, , Vol. XI, (1926), 488
Other
Excavator's plans and notes (archive), Reader, F W, 2230, (1926)

End of official listing