I really like this little barrow cemetery. After driving through the pretty town of Alford a series of twisty roads lead you out into the wilds of east Lincolnshire, you can’t go much further before you fall into the sea at Chapel St Leonards. This isolated rural position gives the dozen ploughed closely set barrows a lovely peaceful atmosphere – few cars ever pass by on the nearby road and the quiet is only occasionally broken if the wind changes direction and carries the sound of the seaside fairground over from the coast. In the past when I have visited the site it has always been deserted, this time it was home to a herd of young cows. As soon as they saw me walking up the track they stopped their chewing and came over to the fence that surrounds the barrows, I didn’t go any closer as the fence is only flimsy. Funnily enough the presence of the cows allowed me to get the only half decent pictures I’ve ever taken of the site, none of the low mounds are over a metre high and are usually overgrown but the cows added some kind of scale to the photos – thanks chaps!
Finds from the site include a whetstone and a dagger. C14 dates the cemetery to around 1750BC.
"A group of eleven or more round barrows of the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age stand close to the present day Butterbump Farm, east of the village of Willoughby. They are situated on a small area of glacial sand and gravel set in the Middle marsh..." "The Butterbump barrows are being levelled by ploughing (although some are now protected under grassland).... Mr Barry Beeby, excavated one of them...He found a cremation burial pit, covered by an arrangement of wooden planks thought to be a bier. A perforated whetstone and bronze dagger with wooden sheath found 2m away were probably contemnporary with the burial. A number of secondary cremation burials belonged to later phases. Radiocarbon dates for the first burial and dagger were 1750BC+/- 180 and for two of the later burials, 1520BC+/-130, and 1520BC+/-80" Lincs History anc Archaeology Vol 17 1982.