Neolithic long barrow, Iron Age hut circles and a Romano-British settlement, 380m south-east of Swinhope Lodge

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1462756
Date first listed:
23-Jun-2020
Location Description:
380m to the south-east of Swinhope Lodge.

Map

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Location

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

Location Description:
380m to the south-east of Swinhope Lodge.
County:
Lincolnshire
District:
West Lindsey (District Authority)
Parish:
Swinhope
National Grid Reference:
TF2220595966

Summary

The cropmark remains of a Neolithic long barrow overlain by the remains of a Romano-British settlement, which itself overlies the remains of two ring ditches thought to be the remains of Iron Age round houses.

Reasons for Designation

The remains of a Neolithic long barrow overlain by the remains of a Romano-British settlement, which itself overlies the remains of two ring ditches thought to be the remains of Iron Age round houses, all surviving as buried features in an arable field some 380m to the south-east of Swinhope Lodge, Swinhope, are scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: an important multi-phased site which is shown on aerial photographs to survive as well-preserved archaeological features beneath the present ground surface;

* Potential: the buried deposits will retain considerable archaeological potential to provide evidence relating to social organisation and demographics, cultural associations, human development, disease, diet, and death rituals. Buried environmental evidence can also inform us about the landscape in which the monuments were constructed;

* Period: the multi-phase site demonstrates a significant sequence of development throughout the prehistoric and Romano-British periods which, over such a long period, has greater archaeological potential than those of a simpler form with relatively short-term occupation. In addition, the long barrow, as one of very few monument types dating to the early prehistoric era, is highly representative of the period and a characteristic feature of the landscape in the Lincolnshire Wolds;

* Rarity: long barrows are an example of a monument type which is rare nationally and one of very few monument types to offer insight into the lives and deaths of early prehistoric communities in this country;

* Finds: the abundance of prehistoric and Romano-British finds from the site indicates a prolonged period of occupation and provides evidence for the transition from prehistoric to Roman culture;

* Group value: the monuments form part of a wider heritage landscape including scheduled long barrows in the valley of the Waithe Beck; Ash Hill Long Barrow (National Heritage List entry 1013886), 1.3km to the east; the two long barrows to the west of Hoe Hill Farm (entries 1013885 and 1013901), some 1km to the south-west; and the long barrow 380m south-west of Thorganby House (entry 1020359), around 2.15km to the north-west. As a group, they are considered to be particularly valuable for the study of demography, settlement patterns and communication routes for this area of the Lincolnshire Wolds and for its wider study.

History

Long barrows and chambered tombs are the main forms of Neolithic funerary monument, constructed from before 3800 BC with new monuments continuing to be built throughout the 4th millennium BC. Where they are precisely dated it appears their primary use for burial rarely lasted longer than about 100 years. Generally comprising long, linear earthen mounds or stone cairns, often flanked by ditches, they can appear as distinctive features in the landscape. They measure up to about 100m in length, 35m in width and 4m in height, and are sometimes trapezoidal or oval in plan. Earthen long barrows are found mostly in southern and eastern England and are usually unchambered, although some examples have been found to contain timber mortuary structures. Regional variation in construction is generally a reflection of locally available resources. Megalithic or stone chambered tombs are most common in Scotland and Wales, but are also found in those parts of England with ready access to the large stones and boulders from which they are constructed, especially the Cotswolds, the South-West and Kent. There are around 540 long barrows recorded nationally.

Long barrows of the Lincolnshire Wolds have been identified as a distinct regional grouping of monuments in which the flanking ditches are continued around the ends of the barrow mound, either continuously or broken by a single causeway towards one end. A small number survive as earthworks but the majority are known from crop marks and soil marks where no or very low mounds are evident on the surface. Not all Lincolnshire long barrows had mounds and our current understanding of Neolithic mortuary practices in this part of the country is that the large barrow mound was in fact the final phase of construction which was not reached by all monuments. Previously many of the sites where only the ditched enclosure is known have been interpreted as a barrow where the mound has been degraded or removed by subsequent agricultural activity. In some cases the ditched enclosure (mortuary enclosure) represents a monument which never developed a mound.

Romano-British settlements began to emerge in the mid-first century AD. Some of these villas were built by soldiers who, upon retirement, were given an allotment of land. However, the majority of larger settlements appeared in the later first and second centuries, whilst the third and fourth centuries saw the growth and development of existing establishments, together with the emergence of a small number of new ones. Some have their origins in earlier military sites such as fort-vici and developed into independent settlements following the abandonment of forts. Others developed alongside roads and were able to exploit a wide range of commercial opportunities as a result of their location.

Settlements vary enormously in site type and size. Romano-British farmsteads, typified by rectilinear or curvilinear enclosures, were the most numerous and existed prior to and throughout the Roman period. Other small-scale nucleated settlements include compact villages which comprise much more extensive spreads of settlement activity; and linear villages or 'ladder' settlements which are dominated by a single axis street or trackway. Additionally there are sites that are perhaps best regarded as 'rural' but which display what may be termed 'urban' attributes. This is especially the case with the large number of roadside settlements, that focus on major and other Roman roads and display elements of planning that morphologically set them apart; not only did such settlements draw their existence from rural activities such as farming, but also acted as local foci for trade and, where possible, exploiting their location on the road; some also developed specialist functions, such as mining complexes and manufacturing. Romano-British rural settlements are often situated in areas in England which are now under arable cultivation. As a result, although some examples survive with upstanding earthworks, the majority have been recorded as crop- and soilmarks on aerial photographs.

At Swinhope, Lincolnshire, the remains of a Romano-British settlement overlying a Neolithic long barrow have been known from aerial photographs since the winter of 1986, when they were recorded as faint germination marks in the bare soil. At around the same time a ground transect survey of the site by the University of Sheffield yielded Roman-British potsherds and 186 flints (33 cores, 130 flakes, 12 scrapers, 1 arrow-head, and 10 other retouched pieces).

In 1993 the cropmarks of this site and the surrounding landscape were recorded and transcribed as part of the Lincolnshire National Mapping Programme (NMP) Project. A subsequent analysis of the cropmark evidence (Jones 1998) identified a hierarchy of Romano-British settlement sites on the Lincolnshire Wolds which is broadly divisible into three basic types: major settlements, villas and minor farmsteads. The form of the settlement at Swinhope, which comprises a larger, rectilinear enclosure subdivided by a series of smaller, rectilinear enclosures ranged around a central area, has resulted in it being interpreted as a villa-type settlement. This arrangement was also found at several other sites on the Wolds including Ludford, Stainsby, Baumber, and Bag Enderby.

Further investigation of the site was undertaken in 2016 as part of the Lincolnshire Cropmark Long Barrows Project. The identification of two possible round houses from an aerial photograph taken in 2010 suggests that the settlement may have originated in the Iron Age.

Details

Principal elements: the buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow overlain by the buried remains of a Romano-British settlement, possibly with Iron Age origins, all visible as cropmarks and soilmarks on aerial photographs.

Description

The site occupies a prominent position on the slopes of a spur on the east side of the valley of the Waithe Beck, in a field under arable cultivation. Although the long barrow, which is centered at NGR TF 22199 96026, cannot be seen on the ground, it is clearly visible as cropmarks and soilmarks on aerial photographs. Its oval-shaped ditch, within which there may once have been an earthen mound, is aligned north-east to south-west and measures 47m by 25.5m at its widest points.

Overlying the long barrow are the rectilinear cropmarks of a Romano-British settlement. It comprises a large, incomplete, ditched, rectilinear enclosure measuring 180m north-north-east by 130m south-south-west, with a possible entrance in its south side. Subdividing the enclosure are a series of smaller, rectilinear enclosures, measuring 40m by 40m on average, ranged around a central area. Two smaller enclosures centred at NGR TF 22222 95977 and NGR TF 22242 96010, measuring 27m north-west to south-east by 14m north-east to south-west and 23m north-north-east by 12.5m south-south-west respectively, may represent a different phase of development than the larger enclosures. A further rectangular enclosure lies to the south of the main enclosure, some 35m to the west-south-west of the entrance, centred at NGR TF 22177 95890. It measures 13m north-west to south-east by 10m north-east to south-west.

The interpretation and analysis of an aerial photograph taken in June 2010 as part of the Lincolnshire Cropmark Long Barrows Project identified the ring ditches of two probable Iron Age round houses. Although exact measurements of the ring ditches were not given, they have been plotted on the western side of the large enclosure at NGR TF 22178 96053 and TF 22150 96001.

Although the earthworks have been levelled by ploughing, valuable archaeological deposits will be preserved on the buried ground surface and in the fills of the ditch. These will provide rare information relating to the date of construction and the function of the monuments, as well as evidence for funerary activity and social organisation. The discovery of Neolithic and Romano-British artefacts provides further evidence for the transition from prehistoric to Roman culture.

Extent of Scheduling: the scheduled area is shown on the accompanying map extract and is designed to protect the buried remains of a Neolithic long barrow, two ring ditches of probable Iron Age date and a Romano-British settlement lying some 380m to the south-east of Swinhope Lodge, Swinhope. It lies within a field under arable cultivation and includes a 5m boundary around the monument which is considered to be essential for its support and preservation.

Sources

Books and journals
Jones, D, 'Romano British settlements on the Lincolnshire Wolds' in Lincolnshires Archaeology from the Air, (1998), 69-75
Jones, D, Bewley, B, 'Aerial Archaeology in Lincolnshire: 1991 and beyond' in Lincolnshire History and Archaeology, , Vol. 27, (1992), 41-43
Websites
Information of the Romano-British Settlement Site at Swinhope from the Lincs to the Past website , accessed 6 June 2019 from https://www.lincstothepast.com/Records/RecordDisplayStandard.aspx?oid=230748
Information on the long barrow at Swinhope from the Lincs to the Past website, accessed 6 June 2019 from https://www.lincstothepast.com/Probable-Long-Barrow--Swinhope/232851.record?pt=S
Other
Aerial Photograph, NMR 12286/20 06-JUL-1992
Aerial Photograph, NMR 28027/25 16-JUN-2010

Legal

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

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