Round barrow at Small Fen, 220m east of the junction of Back and Small Fen Drove


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019986

Date first listed: 09-May-2001


Ordnance survey map of Round barrow at Small Fen, 220m east of the junction of Back and Small Fen Drove
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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 42299 76754


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

Reasons for Designation

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. 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 examples recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, 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. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The round barrow at Small Fen, 220m east of the junction of Back and Small Fen Drove is exceptionally well-preserved, having been protected by the overlying fen deposits of clay and peat, and will contain a wealth of archaeological information relating to its construction, the manner and duration of use of the barrow, and activity on the site. Waterlogged deposits, preserved in the ditches, will contain evidence on the local prehistoric environment. The barrow is of additional importance as part of a unique complex that also features a long barrow (300m to the north west) and an oval and a round barrow (250m to the north west) and provides an unusual insight into the development of prehistoric funerary monuments from the Early Neolithic to the Bronze Age.


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


The monument includes a round barrow at Small Fen, situated 220m east of the junction of Back and Small Fen Drove. The barrow has been protected by later deposits of marine clay and peat, from which the crown of the mound now emerges. This part has been levelled by ploughing and is visible on the modern ground surface as a spread of lighter coloured sandy soil mixed with gravel, covering an area with a diameter of 15m. Below this, underlying the peat and clay, is an earthen mound which, by comparison with similar barrows in the region, is expected to measure approximately 20m in diameter. The mound is thought to be surrounded by a ditch up to 5m wide, from which earth was dug for its construction. The ditch probably contains waterlogged deposits, as the site was covered and sealed by marine clay deposits from the Late Neolithic onwards.

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 as a focal point for prehistoric activity, leaving a range of monuments including a spread of barrow clusters. About 300m to the north west lies a long barrow, while 250m to the north west are a round barrow and an oval barrow, which are the subject of separate schedulings.

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: 33367

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing