Four bowl barrows 920m and 950m south east of Heath Farm, part of a dispersed round barrow cemetery in Charterhouse Plantation


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017326

Date first listed: 17-Dec-1982

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Oct-2000


Ordnance survey map of Four bowl barrows 920m and 950m south east of Heath Farm, part of a dispersed round barrow cemetery in Charterhouse Plantation
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cambridgeshire

District: South Cambridgeshire (District Authority)

Parish: Balsham

National Grid Reference: TL 53660 52799, TL 53718 52842


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

Reasons for Designation

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The four bowl barrows 920m and 950m south east of Heath Farm, part of a dispersed round barrow cemetery in Charterhouse Plantation survive as substantial earthworks, with associated buried features. They are exceptionally well preserved, and form part of an extensive area of burial mounds scattered upon the chalk uplands of north Hertfordshire and south Cambridgeshire. This barrow group is one of the most visible indicators of prehistoric activity in the region and therefore a focus for the study of prehistoric society. Partial excavation of these barrows in the previous century provides insights into the internal structure of barrows, Bronze Age burial customs, and funerary ritual while significant archaeological deposits have been left intact. The reuse of one of the mounds during the Roman period highlights its continued importance as a local landmark through the centuries.


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


The monument includes four bowl barrows 920m and 950m south east of Heath Farm on the east side of the Newmarket to London road (A11), within two areas of protection. The mounds of three barrows survive as prominent earthworks, while the south easternmost is visible as a slight rise. The ditches, from which earth was dug in the construction of the mounds, have become infilled over the years but will survive as buried features.

The southernmost mound is situated 920m south east of Heath Farm and measures 25m in diameter with a height of 1.5m. Approximately 40m north east is the second area of protection, consisting of another mound of approximately 17.5m in diameter and standing to a height of 0.5m. The northernmost mound measures 21m in diameter and is 1m high. To the east, in the adjacent field, lies a mound that has been partly levelled by ploughing but survives as a slight earthwork. It has a diameter of 30m and a height of 0.4m. The encircling ditches are no longer visible but are thought to survive below ground. These are believed to be 3m wide.

In 1848 the three westernmost barrows were partly excavated, revealing, in one of them, two basin shaped cists, cut out of the natural chalk. Each cist contained an inverted cinerary urn covering a cremated burial, which in one case was wrapped in coarse cloth and fastened with a bronze pin. Excavated evidence suggests that fires had been lit within the cists. Charcoal from the funerary pile and burnt oxen bones were found throughout the mound. The other barrows contained Bronze Age interments without cists, accompanied by flint flakes and sheep and oxen bones. One was reused as a burial place during the Roman period.

The bowl barrows are situated near the course of the prehistoric Icknield Way, over which the Romans later built a road. The course of the Roman road is now followed by the A11. This barrow group is part of a dispersed round barrow cemetery in Charterhouse Plantation. Although most barrows in this cemetery are known from documentary evidence only, 300m to the south east lies another bowl barrow, which survives as an earthwork and is the subject of a separate scheduling (SM 33353).

All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 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: 33344

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing