EAA 173, 2020: Prehistoric Burial Mounds in Orton Meadows, Peterborough, by D.F. Mackreth

Lakes were due to be dug at Orton Meadows in the Nene valley, to improve flood management following construction of the Peterborough Eastern Bypass. This led to the excavation of two burial mounds which lay on the north bank of an old course of the river. A round barrow, found by David Hall in the 1970s, was still visible as a slight bump in the ancient water meadows. When archaeological excavation began, a subtle change in the vegetation nearby revealed another, older, burial monument. Work was intermittent, held up by lack of funds and only completed under a government unemployment scheme.

Both burial mounds span the period from the Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age with evidence that they shared a sequence of development. Iron Age weaponry and currency bars were recovered from the old course of the Nene and there was evidence that ritual or religious practice continued at the round barrow into Early Saxon times. The focus of the cult may have been the tidal effect on the Nene.

Cultivation in open fields up-stream during the Late Saxon and Medieval periods led to silting of the valley bottom, almost completely covering the burial mounds, the process coming to an end progressively through the eighteenth century. The burial mounds were effectively sealed by alluvial deposits accumulating over the last thousand years, and almost untouched by any post-medieval disturbance.

Full reference:
D.F. Mackreth, 2020. 'Prehistoric Burial Mounds in Orton Meadows, Peterborough', East Anglian Archaeology 173