Two trial motorway embankments built on a landfill consisting of clayey lumps were monitored over the period of 3 and 5 years, respectively. The subsoil of the embankment was instrumented by hydrostatic levelling profiles, pore pressure transducers and depth reference points installed in boreholes. An advanced constitutive model for clays (hypoplastic model for clays with meta-stable structure) was used for numerical modelling of both case histories. Basic hypoplastic model for clays was calibrated using isotropic compression tests and triaxial compression tests on reconstituted clay. Three additional model parameters describing the effects of lumpy structure were calibrated using oedometer tests on specimens prepared from scaled-down lumpy material (material with smaller size of clay lumps). The performance of the model was evaluated by comparison with the results of the centrifuge model of self-weight consolidated landfill. Finally, the hypoplastic model was used for simulation of both trial embankments and the results were compared with in situ measurements. The degradation of the lumpy structure of the upper layer of the in situ landfill due to weathering was back analysed using monitoring data. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.