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Long mortuary enclosure and barrows 460m north west of Mill Farm

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Long mortuary enclosure and barrows 460m north west of Mill Farm

List entry Number: 1019142

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Braintree

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Ashen

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 14-Dec-1999

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 32416

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Long mortuary enclosures are oblong-shaped enclosures up to 150m in length, surrounded by narrow, fairly straight ditches with slightly rounded corners, containing an open space edged by a perimeter bank set within the ditch. Characteristically there are two or more major causeways across the ditch which served as entrances. Most long mortuary enclosures are orientated within 45 degrees of an east-west alignment. Long mortuary enclosures are generally associated with human burials dated to the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (c.3200-2500 BC). There are approximately 35 examples recorded in England. The greatest concentration lies in Essex and Suffolk, but there are also examples along the Thames and in Warwickshire along the Avon; two isolated examples have been recorded in Northumberland. Long mortuary enclosures are very rare nationally and all surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Neolithic long mortuary enclosures are rare monuments in Essex as elsewhere, and the long mortuary enclosure and its associated `D'-shaped enclosure 460m north west of Mill Farm is one of only a small number of such sites identified by aerial photography. A comparison of these sites will provide rare and valuable information concerning the pattern of Neolithic rituals and settlement in the region. Round barrows 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 mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of burials in later periods. They are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. The barrows north west of Mill Farm are part of a widespread distribution of similar monuments which follow the gravel terraces of the River Stour. As with the mortuary enclosures our understanding of their importance in the prehistoric landscape has been greatly enhanced by aerial survey. Although the earthwork features of the long mortuary enclosure, associated enclosure and barrows have been greatly reduced by ploughing, archaeological deposits will survive as buried features and will contain evidence relating to the dating of their construction, period of use and the changing ritual beliefs and practices of their builders. Environmental evidence preserved in buried ground surfaces and in the fills of the ditches and internal features may illustrate the nature of the landscape in which the mortuary enclosures were set. The gravel terraces of the River Stour are known to have provided the focus for burial and ritual activities, as well as settlement, in the Neolithic period and Bronze Age. The long mortuary enclosure, associated `D'-shaped enclosure and barrows form a particularly interesting group, the study of which will contribute valuable information regarding the continuity and evolution of prehistoric funerary practices in the area.

History

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

Details

The monument is within three areas of protection and includes the buried remains of an oblong Neolithic long mortuary enclosure with an associated smaller morturary enclosure immediately adjacent, a group of three Bronze Age bowl barrows to the north and a large circular barrow to the south east. The site is situated some 1.5km south west of the village of Clare on the southern bank of the River Stour. Although the mortuary enclosures and barrows are no longer easily visible on the ground, their infilled ditches can be seen from the air as cropmarks and on the ground as depressions in the ploughsoil. The cropmarks (areas of enhanced crop growth resulting from higher levels of moisture retained by the underlying archaeological features) have been recorded on aerial photographs, some dating back to the 1960s. The site has been targeted for aerial recording periodically by Cambridge University's Aerial Photography Unit and by Essex County Council's Archaeology Section, showing particulary well during the summer droughts of 1976 and 1996. The mortuary enclosures are defined by uninterrupted ditches, the larger being of oblong shape, the smaller `D'-shaped, with a straight eastern end; both are aligned ENE-WSW, parallel to the course of the River Stour. The long mortuary enclosure measures some 35m in length by 21m at its widest point, the associated enclosure some 13.5m by 9m. Originally the enclosures would have had internal banks created by the upcast from the excavation of their ditches, although these have long since been reduced by ploughing. The ditches enclose areas that would have been used for funerary and ritual purposes and pits visible as cropmarks within them will include evidence for their use. The group of three fairly small circular ditches (diameters: 12m, 8m and 7m) to the north are interpreted as the enclosing ditches of bowl barrows. These are likely to be of later date, possibly Bronze Age. The larger, circular barrow to the south east of the mortuary enclosures is some 40m in diameter, and its encircling ditch remains visible on the ground as a slight depression.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Buckley, , Milton, , 'PPS' in Excavation Of A Neolithic Long Barrow Or Mortuary Enclosure, (1988), p77-91
Buckley, , Milton, , 'PPS' in Excavation Of A Neolithic Long Barrow Or Mortuary Enclosure, (1988), p77-91
Charge, B B, 'Haverhill and District Archaeological Group Journal' in Cropmark Survey Reports 1982-83, (1984), p168
Charge, B B, 'Haverhill and District Archaeological Group Journal' in Cropmark Survey Reports 1982-83, (1984), p168
Other
1:10 000 NMP Plot, Strachan, D, OS TL74SE, (1998)
2 black/white prints, CUCAP, BCT80, 83, (1971)
2 black/white prints, CUCAP, BCT80, 83, (1971)
2 black/white prints, Farrands, R, 226.25, 26, (1980)
2 black/white prints, McMaster, I, 7.17, 18, (1979)
2 colour prints, Strachan, D, CP/96/9/14; CP/96/10/1, (1996)
2 colour prints, Strachan, D, CP/96/9/14; CP/96/10/1, (1996)
4 colour prints, Rogers, P, 170/6, 7, 8, 10, (1989)
4 colour prints, Rogers, P, 170/6, 7, 8, 10, (1989)
black/white print, CUCAP, AAW3, (1960)
black/white print, CUCAP, AUQ12, (1969)
black/white print, CUCAP, BCT80, (1971)
black/white print, CUCAP, BCT83, (1971)
black/white print, CUCAP, BFM20, (1971)
black/white print, CUCAP, BFX14, (1971)
black/white print, CUCAP, BKJ22, (1972)
black/white print, CUCAP, BYC72, (1976)
Charge, BB, Cropmark Survey Reports 1982-83, Haverhill & District Arch. Group Journal, (1996)
colour print, Rogers, P, 170/8, (1989)
colour print, Strachan, D, CP/96/10/1, (1996)
colour prints, Rogers, P, 310/10, (1990)

National Grid Reference: TL 75825 44405, TL 75836 44457, TL 75943 44384

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 13-Dec-2017 at 01:18:45.

End of official listing