Suet Hills round barrow cemetery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020844

Date first listed: 12-Mar-2003


Ordnance survey map of Suet Hills round barrow cemetery
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Oct-2018 at 17:21:04.


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

County: Cambridgeshire

District: Fenland (District Authority)

Parish: Whittlesey

National Grid Reference: TL 24502 94190, TL 24780 94171


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.

Suet Hills round barrow cemetery is well-preserved and the majority of the barrow mounds survive as substantial earthworks. The monument will contain a range of information relating to the barrows' construction, the manner and duration of their use, as well as ritual and domestic activity on the site. Buried soils underneath the mounds will retain valuable archaeological evidence concerning land use in the area prior to the construction of the barrows. Organic deposits preserved in the ditches will provide information on environmental conditions (eg climate, flora and fauna) since their construction. The monument has additional value as part of the important prehistoric landscape of the Nene Valley, large parts of which have been destroyed by mineral extraction and development in recent decades.


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


The monument includes Suet Hills round barrow cemetery, which includes eight round barrows lying in two separate areas of protection to the south of Suet Hills Farm. The first area contains a group of five barrows aligned north east to south west, and the second a cluster of three barrows located to the east. The cemetery provides a prominent landmark in the fairly level landscape of King's Delph and it was first recorded archaeologically in 1927. Five burial mounds are preserved as earthworks, measuring between 0.3m and 1m high, whereas the three easternmost mounds have been reduced by ploughing and are no longer visible above ground. The encircling ditches, from which earth was dug for the construction of each mound, have become infilled over the years, but will survive as buried features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs (areas of enhanced growth resulting from higher levels of moisture retained by the underlying archaeological features). The western group of five barrows is located immediately east of Suet Hills Drove, and extends in a north easterly direction over a distance of approximately 220m. The westernmost barrow's mound, which is partly buried underneath the drove, stands up to 1m high with a diameter of 25m. Its encircling ditch is thought to measure 5m wide, based on the width of the cropmark recorded from the air. Immediately to the north east is a second barrow, whose mound has a height of 0.6m and a diameter of 23m, also surrounded by a 5m wide ditch. A third mound 70m to the east of the second (the distance between the central points of the two barrows) measures 20m in diameter and stands 0.3m high. Its encircling ditch is thought to measure 4m wide. The fourth barrow's mound, immediately to the north east, is 0.8m high with a diameter of 23m and is surrounded by a 5m wide ditch. About 60m to the north east lies a fifth barrow with a mound 0.8m high and 26m in diameter, again surrounded by a ditch measuring about 5m in width. Some 270m east of the main group are the buried remains of three more barrows of which the northernmost mound measures 21m in diameter, surrounded by a 5m wide ditch. Immediately south west is a second barrow with a mound 14m in diameter and a 3m wide encircling ditch. About 30m to the north west of this barrow lies a third barrow whose mound measures approximately 10m in diameter, while its ditch is 3m wide. Suet Hills round barrow cemetery is situated on a gravel peninsula along the fen edge, where it once met the prehistoric course of the River Nene. This location, with its combination of wetter and drier grounds and easy access along the waterways, acted as a focal point for prehistoric activity, leaving a wide range of evidence. A further round barrow 1.2km to the north west is the subject of a separate scheduling. The modern surfacing of Suet Hills Drove is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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: 33385

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing