Long barrow at South Fen, 90m south west of the west end of Rymanmoor Long Turning
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 26-May-2019 at 04:23:07.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- East Cambridgeshire (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- TL 42112 77281
Reasons for Designation
Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking
ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic
periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early
farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments
surviving visibly 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 monument preceding the barrow and,
consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites
for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 examples of
long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded
nationally. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as
earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and
their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be
The long barrow 90m south west of the west end of Rymanmoor Long Turning survives exceptionally well, having been protected by overlying fen deposits of clay and peat, and will contain a wealth of archaeological information concerning the construction of the barrow, the manner and duration of its use and other activity surrounding the site. Waterlogged deposits will provide evidence for the local prehistoric environment. The potential of the monument is highlighted by the investigations of the neighbouring long barrows, which revealed wooden structures, human remains and waterlogged deposits. The combined evidence from the three long barrows provides a unique insight into the spatial and social organisation of Neolithic funerary rituals.
The monument includes a long barrow at South Fen, situated 90m south west of
the west end of a track known as Rymanmoor Long Turning. It is part of an
alignment of three long barrows, the other two are the subject of separate
schedulings. The barrow has been preserved underneath later deposits of marine
clay and peat, from which the crown of the mound now emerges and has been
spread by modern ploughing. On the modern ground surface the barrow is visible
as a low, spread mound of lighter coloured, slightly sandy soil, some 0.3m in
height and covering an area with dimensions of approximately 55m north west to
south east by 25m north east to south west. Below this, underlying the peat
and clay, is a buried earthen mound which, by comparison with other excavated
examples in the region is thought to measure approximately 50m long and 18m
wide, and to be surrounded by a ditch 5m wide. The infilled ditch and deeper
features within the mound will contain waterlogged deposits.
On the basis of evidence from the two neighbouring long barrows the buried mound and ditch are believed to preserve both artefactual and human remains. Excavations of the long barrow 500m to the south west revealed a wooden funerary chamber containing human bone and pottery fragments, while a borehole survey on the second long barrow, 300m to the north, identified saturated and preserved prehistoric deposits in the ditch as well as a contemporary ground surface surrounding it.
The long barrow is 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, such as a large causewayed enclosure about 3km to the south west and a spread of barrows of various forms dating from the Early Neolithic to the Bronze Age.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 4 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:
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