Two Roman barrows 180m west of Home Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017876

Date first listed: 25-Feb-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Mar-1998

Map

Ordnance survey map of Two Roman barrows 180m west of Home Farm
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Location

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

County: Lincolnshire

District: East Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Revesby

National Grid Reference: TF 30261 61634

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Earthen barrows are the most visually spectacular survivals of a wide variety of funerary monuments in Britain dating to the Roman period. Constructed as steep-sided conical mounds, usually of considerable size and occasionally with an encircling bank or ditch, they covered one or more burials, generally believed to be those of high-ranking individuals. The burials were mainly cremations, although inhumations have been recorded, and were often deposited with accompanying grave goods in chambers or cists constructed of wood, tile or stone sealed beneath the barrow mound. Occasionally the mound appears to have been built directly over a funeral pyre. The barrows usually occur singly, although they can be grouped into "cemeteries" of up to ten examples. They are sited in a variety of locations but often occur near Roman roads. A small number of barrows were of particularly elaborate construction, with masonry revetment walls or radial internal walls. Roman barrows are rare nationally, with less than 150 recorded examples, and are generally restricted to lowland England with the majority in East Anglia. The earliest examples date to the first decades of the Roman occupation and occur mainly within this East Anglian concentration. It has been suggested that they are the graves of native British aristocrats who chose to perpetuate aspects of Iron Age burial practice. The majority of the barrows were constructed in the early second century AD but by the end of that century the fashion for barrow building appears to have ended. Occasionally the barrows were re-used when secondary Anglo-Saxon burials were dug into the mound. Many barrows were subjected to cursory investigation by antiquarians in the 19th century and, as little investigation to modern standards has taken place, they remain generally poorly understood. As a rare monument type which exhibits a wide diversity of burial tradition all Roman barrows, unless significantly damaged, are identified as nationally important.

The Roman barrows west of Home Farm are particularly well-preserved examples of this monument class enclosed together by a boundary ditch. Although the eastern barrow mound has been somewhat disturbed by part excavation during the 19th century, this work has served to confirm the period and function of the barrows, whilst leaving the greater part of the mound intact. Both barrows will retain valuable archaeological deposits, including human remains and artefacts, which relate to their dating, construction and period of use and to the religious beliefs and funerary practices of the period. The area of ground between and around the mounds may contain further funerary deposits. This area will also contain evidence of activities associated with the barrows and of alterations to the enclosing ditch after the Roman period. Further artefactual evidence may be retained in the ditch together with environmental deposits which will illustrate the nature of the landscape in which the monument was set.

History

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

Details

The monument includes two Roman barrows situated on the edge of West Fen, 180m west of Home Farm. The area between the barrows, which will contain archaeological deposits relating to their construction and use, is also included in the scheduling together with the enclosing ditch and causeway.

Both barrow mounds are roughly circular with steep sides and flattened summits. The western barrow has a maximum diameter of 28m and stands to a height of approximately 5m. The second barrow, lying about 68m to the east, measures some 24m in diameter and is about 6.2m high.

The eastern barrow was partly excavated in 1892, and traces of the spoil from this work can still be seen as a slight broad ridge running from the mound's southern edge. During the excavation the mound was found to contain a burial chamber or cist made of puddled clay containing a quantity of black earth which is thought to indicate a cremation ritual. There is no evidence to suggest that the western barrow has ever been excavated.

The contents of the eastern barrow, together with the size and steep profile of the mounds, suggest that they date from the Roman period, and their location, some 8km to the south of the Roman town of Banovallum, (Horncastle) suggests a connection with an outlying settlement.

The enclosure in which the barrows stand is defined by an oval, mainly waterlogged ditch up to 8m in width, and measuring approximately 91.45m east to west and 30.48m north to south. Material quarried from this ditch may have been used in the construction of the mounds. Access to the enclosure was provided by a causeway at the centre of the southern arm of the ditch. The eastern section of the southern arm of the ditch with its rounded terminal end still survives as a visible feature. However, the western section has been infilled and the western arm extended to join the modern field drain to the south. This work is believed to have been carried out after 1892 when the full extent of the ditch is known to have been still visible.

The terminal of the southern arm's eastern section, which is now dry, shows some signs of having been widened and deepened to form a small rectangular pond, perhaps to provide a safe and easily accessible water supply for grazing animals. There is no evidence to suggest when this adaptation was carried out but it may have been contemporary with the other alterations to the ditch.

The site was noted in 1776 by the antiquarian William Stukeley who suggested that this was a place of sacrifice or of rituals associated with the sun and moon.

A third barrow to the north of the monument was investigated by Sir Joseph Banks in 1780. It was found to have been previously excavated and backfilled with coal and pieces of granite. The barrow was completely destroyed and is not included in the scheduling.

All fences, fence posts and gates 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 29723

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Stuckley, W, Itinerarium Curiosum, (1776), 30
E S, , 'Lincs Notes & Queries' in , , Vol. 3, (1893), 145-7
E S, , 'Lincs Notes and Queries' in Lincs Notes and Queries, , Vol. 3, (1893), 145-7

End of official listing