"Unchambered" Long Barrows in Neolithic Britain (Fig. I)


  • S. Piggott


(p. 381)

The recognition of a form of Neolithic burial monument in Britain, characterised by collective burial under one end of an elongated mound of earth or rubble, but without stone-built chambers in the manner of the megalithic tombs, goes back to the last century. A distinction was formulated in the 1860'S by John Thurnam between 'unchambered' and 'chambered' long barrows, and this classification has been part of British archaeological diction since his day (Thurnam, 1868). From an early date too it was recognised that the relationship between the two classes, though to a certain extent explicable in geographical and geological terms, was by no means simple, and might involve consideration not only of groups of monuments widely distributed in the British Isles, but on the European continent as well.

The distribution of these 'unchambered' long barrows has a marked concentration in the counties of Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire and, to a less extent, Sussex in Southern England; a scatter northeastwards through Bedfordshire into East Anglia; a group in Lincolnshire and a concentration in the East and North Ridings of Yorkshire. Northwards again there are a few examples in Eastern Scotland between the River Tay and the Moray Firth.