Long barrow at South Fen, 90m south west of the west end of Rymanmoor Long Turning

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019988

Date first listed: 09-May-2001

Map

Ordnance survey map of Long barrow at South Fen, 90m south west of the west end of Rymanmoor Long Turning
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cambridgeshire

District: East Cambridgeshire (District Authority)

Parish: Sutton

National Grid Reference: TL 42112 77281

Summary

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

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 nationally important.

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.

History

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

Details

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 33373

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing