Neolithic long barrow 525m north east of Valley House: one of a group known as Deadmen's Graves


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017464

Date first listed: 08-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Neolithic long barrow 525m north east of Valley House: one of a group 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 44699 71949


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 mound of the long barrow 525m north east of Valley House has been reduced by ploughing, rare and valuable archaeological remains will survive within the fills of the buried ditch and in the old ground surface beneath the area of the mound. These will include funerary deposits together with evidence relating to the construction, dating and period of use of the monument, and to the sequence of mortuary ritual at the site. Environmental evidence preserved within the same deposits will help to illustrate the nature of the landscape in which the monument was set.

The monument is one of a group of three closely associated long barrows known as Deadmen's Graves. A comparison of the archaeological remains preserved at these sites will provide invaluable insights concerning the duration of Neolithic mortuary practices and may reveal a process of evolving ritual. The close association of these monuments is indicative of the ritual significance of the location and may have implications for the study of prehistoric settlement and demography.


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


The monument includes the buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow located below the summit of a spur above the source of the Burlands Beck, some 525m north east of Valley House. It is situated just below the crest of the slope, following the contour of the hill, and is aligned NNE-SSW.

The long barrow, which is one of a group of similar monuments known as Deadmen's Graves, is thought to have been a notable landscape feature during the first half of the 19th century. Since that time, however, the mound has been reduced by ploughing and is no longer discernible on the ground. However, recent aerial surveys have demonstrated that it survives beneath the present ground surface. This survival is indicated by cropmarks representing a large portion of the buried ditch.

The full circuit of this ditch, from which material used in the construction of the mound would have been quarried, is not visible on aerial photographs. However, from a comparison with the other long barrows in the group and with a wider range of similar examples, it is estimated that the ditch will measure some 65m long by 30m wide with straight sides and rounded ends. Evidence from more extensive aerial surveys and from excavations at other long barrow sites in Lincolnshire indicate that the ditch is likely to be broken by a causeway to the north. Furthermore, investigations elsewhere in the county indicate that, although the mound has been reduced, this area, together with the fills of the buried ditch, will contain significant mortuary, ritual and constructional remains.

The other two long barrows in the group lie approximately 100m to the south west and 270m WNW of the monument. Both these barrows are the subject of separate schedulings.

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: 27924

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Allen, T, 'History of the County of Lincoln' in History of the County of Lincoln, , Vol. II, (1834), 169
Phillips, C W, 'Archaeologia' in Excavation of Giants' Hills Long Barrow, Skendleby, Lincs., , Vol. 85, (1936), 37-106
plot of cropmark, National Mapping Programme: Lincolnshire, (1992)

End of official listing