Long mortuary enclosure and round barrow 160m south west of Frame Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017230

Date first listed: 29-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Long mortuary enclosure and round barrow 160m south west of Frame Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Braintree (District Authority)

Parish: Feering

National Grid Reference: TL 86749 20575


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

Reasons for Designation

Long mortuary enclosures are oblong-shaped enclosures up to 150m in length, surrounded by narrow, fairly straight ditches with slightly rounded corners, containing an open space edged by a perimeter bank set within the ditch. Characteristically there are two or more major causeways across the ditch which served as entrances. Most long mortuary enclosures are orientated within 45 degrees of an east-west alignment. Long mortuary enclosures are generally associated with human burials dated to the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (c.3200-2500 BC). There are approximately 35 examples recorded in England. The greatest concentration lies in Essex and Suffolk, but there are also examples along the Thames and in Warwickshire along the Avon; two isolated examples have been recorded in Northumberland. Long mortuary enclosures are very rare nationally and all surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of burials in later periods. They are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities.

Although the long mortuary enclosure and adjacent barrow 160m south west of Frame Farm are no longer visible on the ground, archaeological deposits will survive as buried features and will contain evidence relating to the dating of their construction, period of use and the changing ritual beliefs and practices of its builders. Environmental evidence preserved in the buried ground surfaces and in the fills of the ditch and internal features may illustrate the nature of the landscape in which the long mortuary enclosure was set.

The relationship between the two features is of particular importance. If the enclosure and the barrow are contemporaneous, the mortuary enclosure could have been the site of the Neolithic funerary ritual before the burial of the remains in the adjacent barrow. The ritual is thought to have been to expose the bodies to the elements prior to interment, possibly on platforms. If the mortuary enclosure and barrow prove not to be contemporaneous, their association is nonetheless still important as it demonstrates the continued use of the site as an area for ritual and burial over a substantial period of time.

Long mortuary enclosures are rare monuments and this example with an associated barrow is potentially highly informative.


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


The monument includes the buried remains of a Neolithic mortuary enclosure and adjacent round barrow located some 500m north west of Feering village and 160m south west of Frame Farm, sitting on the northern slope of the Blackwater river valley.

Although the long mortuary enclosure and round barrow are no longer visible on the ground, their infilled ditches can be seen from the air as cropmarks. These cropmarks (areas of enhanced crop growth resulting from higher levels of moisture retained by the underlying archaeological features) were first identified on aerial photographs dating from the 1970s and the site has since been targeted by aerial survey, showing up particularly well in the dry summer of 1996.

The long mortuary enclosure is defined by a fairly narrow oblong ditch with rounded corners, enclosing an area some 70m long by 25m wide; a 4m break in the ditch circuit at its south western end, facing the river, represents its entrance.

Originally the long mortuary enclosure would have had an internal bank created by the upcast from the excavation of the ditch, but this has long since been reduced by ploughing. A number of pit-like features have been observed as cropmarks within its internal area, and some of these may be related to the enclosure.

The round barrow is situated some 10m to the south east of the long mortuary enclosure and is about 25m in diameter, with a distinctive, narrow encircling ditch. Internal pit-like features are visible on some aerial photographs showing as cropmarks and are likely to mark the position of primary and secondary burials.

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.


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

Legacy System number: 32415

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Strachan, D, Essex From The Air, (1998), p12
'Colchester Arch. Group Annual Bulletin' in Recently Discovered Cropmarks, , Vol. 19, (1976)
Farrands, R H, McMaster, I, 'Colchester Arch. Group Bulletin' in Recently Discovered Cropmarks, , Vol. 19, (1976)
1:10000, Strachan, D, TL82SE, (1994)
Black/white prints, CUC, BXN 38, 39, (1976)
Black/white prints, Farrands, RH, 130.3-4, (1975)
colour prints, Rogers, P, 149/14, 15, 17, 18, (1990)
colour prints, Strachan, D, CP/96/40/1,3, (1996)
colour prints, Strachan, D, CP/96/40/1,3, (1996)
colour prints, Tyler, S, CP/97/29/18, 19, (1997)
NMP 1:10000 plot, Strachan, D, TL82SE, (1994)
Ordnance Survey Card, Ordnance Survey, TL 82 SE 37, (1976)
Ordnance Survey Card, Ordnance Survey, TL 82 SE 37, (1976)

End of official listing