Three bowl barrows 450m and 570m east of New England, part of the Haddenham round barrow cemetery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019982

Date first listed: 09-May-2001


Ordnance survey map of Three bowl barrows 450m and 570m east of New England, part of the Haddenham round barrow cemetery
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cambridgeshire

District: East Cambridgeshire (District Authority)

Parish: Haddenham

National Grid Reference: TL 40812 74892, TL 40924 75001


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

Reasons for Designation

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The bowl barrows 450m and 570m east of New England are exceptionally well- preserved, having been protected by overlying deposits of peat and clay, and thus contain a wealth of rare archaeological information. Unique evidence of the early development of prehistoric funerary architecture emerged during investigations on the westernmost barrow, revealing several construction phases from the Middle Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age, including a rare example of a small Neolithic burial mound. Evidence of Bronze Age and Iron Age ritual and domestic activity on and around the barrows, involving the construction of funerary pyres and residential shelters, highlights the important role of the monument as a local landmark through prehistory. Buried soils underneath the barrows will retain valuable archaeological evidence for the use of the site prior to the construction of the barrows and will contribute to our understanding of the social and economic development of the region. The monument has additional importance as part of an exceptional prehistoric landscape, in which a Neolithic causewayed enclosure about 1100m to the south acted as a ritual focus.


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


The monument includes three bowl barrows in two areas of protection situated approximately 450m and 570m east of New England Farm, south of the A1123. The barrows have been covered by later deposits of marine clay and peat, from which the crowns of the mounds emerge. These have been partly levelled by ploughing but are still visible as low sandy gravel mounds. The deeper lying remains of the barrows, including encircling ditches from which earth was dug in the construction of the mounds, are preserved underneath the fen deposits.

The westernmost barrow was partly excavated in 1985 revealing two main stages of construction. During the Middle to Late Neolithic a low ovoid mound (3m wide by 4m long with an original height of 0.85m, reduced to 0.65m by modern ploughing) was transformed into a long mound (4.5m wide by 8m long). Around each mound a shallow ditch was dug. In the north western corner of the ditch of the ovoid barrow, and contemporary with it, lay a child inhumation. During the Early to Middle Bronze Age the mound was further modified and first extended into an oval mound (9.5m long by 7.5m wide and about 1m high) encircled by a slight ditch and later into a round barrow 23m in diameter and originally some 1.5m high, reduced to 1m by modern ploughing. The barrow was enclosed by a ditch approximately 5m wide. Contemporary with the oval mound but inserted into the earthen long mound was a collared urn cremation burial of a male adult approximately 30 years old. The urn was packed with layers of ashes, possibly sieved, selected bone fragments and two small vessels that probably contained food and drink. Further funerary activity was apparent from pyre derived material in the upper layers of the mound, such as charcoal, animal bone fragments, and pieces of human bone of an individual about 12 years in age. In the southern lip of the barrow's mound was a cremation of an infant up to six months old, while a disturbed inhumation of unknown date in the central area may have been interred in the Bronze Age or a inserted at a later date. Fragments of post-Deverel Rimbury jars and post holes found around the barrow suggest some Late Bronze Age activity, perhaps seasonal occupation.

Approximately 120m to the north east of this barrow is a further barrow, which was sectioned by a modern field dyke and cleaning of its profile revealed a 30m diameter gravel and sand mound, now standing 1.8m high whose original height was approximately 2m. It is surrounded by an infilled ditch 4m wide, which contains soils washed from the mound, as well as layers of peat and clay. In the southern lip of the mound were two cremation burials; one accompanied by several flint tools and a sharpening stone, the other without grave goods. Iron Age activity on the mound is apparent from a pit containing Early Iron Age pottery. A layer of pre-barrow soil is preserved underneath the mound.

About 70m further to the north east and within the same area of protection is a third barrow, visible as a low sandy gravel mound measuring 0.5m high and 35m east to west by 25m north to south. Comparison with other barrows excavated in the area indicates that below this gravel spread, underlying the peat and clay, is an earthen mound approximately 35m in diameter, encircled by a ditch 5m wide.

The barrows are situated on a gravel island along the former course of the River Great Ouse, where it met the Fen edge. This location acted a focal point for prehistoric activity, leaving a wide range of monuments, including a spread of barrows of various forms. About 600m to the south west are two further bowl barrows, which are the subject of a separate scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 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: 33363

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing