Neolithic long barrow 680m west of Maidenwell House


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Neolithic long barrow 680m west of Maidenwell House
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Lindsey (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TF 31588 79351

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 buried remains of the long barrow 680m west of Maidenwell House are not visible on the ground, the infilled ditch survives well and will retain, together with the old buried ground surface, artefactual and organic material, including human remains. These will provide rare and valuable evidence relating to the date of construction, period of use and funerary practices of the barrow builders. Environmental evidence preserved in the same features may illustrate the landscape in which the monument was set. The long barrow is one of a number of similar monuments which are focussed on the river valleys of the eastern Wolds and are associated with the prehistoric trackway now known as the Bluestone Heath Road. This suggests that the location had considerable ritual significance in the Neolithic period. Evidence from this group of barrows may have implications for the study of prehistoric settlement patterns, communications and demography.


The monument includes the buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow some 680m west of Maidenwell House, on the summit of a broad, flat spur overlooking the head of a dry valley and the source of the Burwell Beck. Although the barrow cannot be seen on the ground, its infilled and buried ditch is clearly visible from the air as a cropmark (an area of enhanced crop growth resulting from the higher levels of moisture retained by the underlying archaeological features). The long barrow measures about 42m east to west by 25m north to south inclusive of its encircling ditch. No features have been noted within the ditch, but pits, postholes and burial surfaces can be expected to survive beneath the present ground surface. In 1992 fieldwalking over the area of the barrow produced worked flint which has been dated to the earlier part of the Neolithic period. The surrounding ditch is straight sided with slightly rounded terminals. Its circuit is thought to be complete, suggesting that this is an example of the simple form of Lincolnshire Wolds long barrow which was not elaborated by the addition of a large earthen mound when the funerary rituals were completed. The long barrow is one of a dispersed group of similar monuments which are thought to be associated with the prehistoric trackway now known as the Bluestone Heath Road, and with the river valleys of the eastern Wolds.

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:


description of site, Jones, D, Gazetteer of Lincolnshire long barrow sites, (1997)
oblique monochrome prints, TF3179/1 NMR 12724/75, (1995)


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

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