Neolithic long barrow and Bronze Age bowl barrow 650m SSW of Riby Grove Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Jan-2021 at 00:49:36.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- West Lindsey (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- TA 17180 05490
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
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.
Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, 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 or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.
Although the barrows 650m SSW of Riby Grove Farm are no longer visible on the ground, their buried remains will survive well, and will contain evidence (including funerary deposits) relating to their construction, period of use and the changing ritual beliefs and practices of their builders. The intervening area of ground will contain further archaeological deposits relating to activities focussed on the barrows, and environmental evidence preserved in the old buried ground surfaces and in the fills of the ditches may illustrate the nature of the landscape in which the barrows were set.
The proximity of the two different forms of barrow suggests that the location had an enduring ritual significance, and has considerable significance for the study of settlement and demography in the prehistoric period.
The monument includes the buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow and a
Bronze Age bowl barrow some 650m SSW of Riby Grove Farm, on a north facing
slope below the plateau known as Swallow Wold.
Although the barrows cannot be seen on the ground, their infilled and buried ditches are clearly visible from the air as cropmarks (areas of enhanced crop growth caused by higher levels of moisture retained by the underlying archaeological features) which have been recorded on aerial photographs since 1970.
The long barrow is defined by a rectangular ditch measuring approximately 65m long by 28m wide overall and oriented north west-south east, the south eastern end directly facing the river valley of Irby Dales. The circuit of the ditch is not thought to be broken by a causeway. This suggests that the barrow is an example of the simpler form of Lincolnshire long barrow which was not elaborated by the construction of a large earthen mound when the funerary rituals were completed.
A Bronze Age bowl barrow is situated slightly to the north east of the southern end of the long barrow, separated from it by a distance of about 20m. The encircling ditch has a diameter of approximately 30m overall and material quarried from this ditch would have been used for the construction of the barrow mound. The mound has, however, been reduced by ploughing and is no longer visible as a standing feature.
The long barrow is thought to be an outlier of a group of similar monuments focussed on the Waithe Beck, the closest example of which is the elaborated long barrow in Ash Holt (the subject of a separate scheduling) some 900m to the SSE.
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:
- Legacy System:
oblique monochrome print, St Joseph J K, BBJ 39, (1970)
oblique monochrome print, St Joseph J K, BBJ 40, (1970)
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing