Long barrow 650m NNW of Lythel's Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020843

Date first listed: 12-Mar-2003


Ordnance survey map of Long barrow 650m NNW of Lythel's Farm
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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: Swaffham Bulbeck

National Grid Reference: TL 52828 66960


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 650m NNW of Lythel's Farm is well-preserved, having been protected by overlying deposits of peat and clay. It will contain a range of information relating to the barrow's construction, the manner and duration of its use, as well as ritual and domestic activity on the site. Buried soils underneath the mound will retain valuable archaeological evidence concerning land use in the area prior to the construction of the barrow. Given the location of the long barrow on the edge of the fen and River Cam valley, it is possible that the deeper deposits in the ditch are waterlogged and contain rare organic materials. These will provide information on environmental conditions (eg climate, flora and fauna) since its construction. The monument has additional importance as part of a wider landscape in which early prehistoric remains are unusually well preserved.


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


The monument includes a long barrow situated 650m NNW of Lythel's Farm, on the highest point in a field that gently slopes down to Swaffham Bulbeck Lode. It has been covered and protected by later deposits of marine clay and peat from which the crown of the mound now emerges. It is visible as a sandy gravel rise, aligned ENE-WSW, which stands 0.3m high and measures 37m long by 22m wide. The deeper-lying remains of the barrow, including an encircling ditch from which earth was dug in the construction of the mound, are preserved underneath the fen deposits. By comparison with examples excavated elsewhere in the area, the ditch is thought to measure about 5m wide. On top of the mound one Neolithic pottery fragment was found, which was originally part of the mound material and was brought to the surface by ploughing. The long barrow is situated on the very edge of the prehistoric fen, where it once met the River Cam. The area, with its mixture of wetter and drier grounds and easy access along the waterways, acted as a focus for prehistoric activity, leaving a wide range of evidence, including scattered Neolithic flint tools and working debris, as well as settlement remains.

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.


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

Legacy System number: 33384

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing