Four bowl barrows 690m and 550m ESE of The Willows


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021314

Date first listed: 26-Nov-2004


Ordnance survey map of Four bowl barrows 690m and 550m ESE of The Willows
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: City of Peterborough (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Borough Fen

National Grid Reference: TF 21200 08129, TF 21343 08101


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

Reasons for Designation

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, 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 or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for 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 bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of 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 bowl barrows 690m and 550m ESE of the Willows are well-preserved, having been protected by overlying deposits of peat and clay. They will contain a wealth 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 landuse in the area prior to the construction of the barrows, while organic deposits preserved in the ditches will shed light on environmental conditions (eg climate, flora and fauna) since the construction of the barrows. The monument has additional importance as part of a diffuse barrow landscape at Eye and Borough Fen.


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


The monument includes four bowl barrows in two separate areas of protection situated approximately 690m and 550m ESE of The Willows. The barrows have been covered and protected by later deposits of marine clay and peat, from which the mounds now emerge. They are visible as slight sandy gravel rises against the darker peat. The deeper lying remains of the barrows are preserved underneath the Fen deposits, and include their encircling ditches from which earth was dug in the construction of the mounds. They have become infilled over the years but 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 easternmost barrow mound stands 0.3m high with a diameter of 25m. It is surrounded by a ditch, which by comparison with examples excavated elsewhere in the area, is thought to measure 5m wide. The north eastern edge of the barrow has been partly chipped into by turf cutting. Immediately to the south west lies a second barrow, whose mound measures 22m in diameter. Compared to the surrounding field, it stands 0.3m high on the north and 0.5m on the south, where the land drops off gradually. Its encircling ditch is about 5m wide. About 40m to the north west is a third barrow, whose mound is 0.3m high with a diameter of 18m. It is surrounded by a 4m wide ditch. About 120m to the west is the fourth barrow, which lies within a separate area of protection. Its mound stands 0.1m high with a 20m diameter. It is surrounded by two ditches, of which the second was dug to enlarge the mound. The two ditches together are thought to measure 10m wide on the basis of the aerial photographic evidence. The barrows are situated on the very edge of the river gravels along the prehistoric Fen edge, a location that, with its mixture of wetter and drier grounds and easy access along the waterways, attracted prehistoric activity. It is part of a diffuse barrow landscape at Eye and Borough Fen, elements of which have been subject to 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: 33397

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing