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Essex Through the Ages
Neolithic Essex
  Neolithic Religion and Ritual
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Neolithic Religion and Ritual

Long burial mounds, known as long barrows, and other monuments of earth and wood were built during this period. A causewayed enclosure was constructed at Springfield overlooking the Chelmer valley, with a long barrow to the south and, directly aligned on this, a cursus monument, 670m long by 40m wide.

The Springfield monuments lay near the edge of the Boulder Clay plateau close to the point where the Chelmer and Cam rivers meet. These rivers form major access routes up on to the Boulder Clay and the monuments were constructed at a central point where groups of people, passing from the valleys to exploit the forest resources of the Boulder Clay, could meet, perhaps seasonally. Another causewayed enclosure at Orsett occupied a similar focal point, with the wooded London Clays and Orsett Fen to the north and west and the gravel terraces of the Thames to the south and east.

These monuments, taken with other evidence, can suggest that Neolithic people had a simple social organisation. The causewayed enclosures and the cursus at Springfield were places of meeting and ceremony, celebrations and other events, where tribal groupings asserted their social solidarity through seasonal meetings.