Ring ditch and rectangular enclosure SE of Mockbeggar
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002212
Date first listed: 24-Apr-1979
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This copy shows the entry on 20-Mar-2019 at 13:07:30.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: East Sussex
District: Rother (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TQ 92100 22631
Ring ditch, enclosure, linear earthwork and prehistoric settlement remains, 265m south-east of Mockbeggar.
Reasons for Designation
Pre-historic linear earthworks were often built to mark important boundaries in the landscape. They usually comprise single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to over 10km.
Enclosures are man-made works which can date from the Neolithic to the post-medieval period. They are usually constructed as a means of protection or demarcation whether for animals or humans and are commonly denoted by banks and/or ditches. Prehistoric examples include small enclosed settlements, which can be sub-rectangular and curvilinear in plan and are wholly or partly surrounded by a ditch, bank or palisade, or by a combination or succession of all three. Where excavated they usually contain evidence of domestic buildings in the form of postholes as well as finds such as pottery and worked flint.
Ring ditches are sometimes identified as the remnants of round barrows levelled by cultivation. Round barrows are pre-historic funerary monuments, constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, over burials.
Despite having been part-levelled by ploughing, the ring ditch, enclosure, linear earthwork and prehistoric settlement remains, 265m south-east of Mockbeggar survive relatively well. Partial excavation has shown that they form a significant group of prehistoric monuments. Where such monuments occur on cultivated sites they usually only survive in buried form, visible only from the air as soilmarks and crop marks. Although there is some uncertainty concerning the exact function of the prehistoric monuments near Mockbeggar, it is clear that they represent important archaeological features relating to the organisation of the landscape in the prehistoric period. Further archaeological investigation using modern techniques and methods is likely to provide more conclusive evidence regarding their original use.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 24 February 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a ring ditch, enclosure, linear earthwork and prehistoric settlement remains surviving as earthworks and below-ground archaeological remains. It is situated on elevated ground near Houghton Green, west of the River Rother.
The linear earthwork, denoted by a ditch, runs ENE to WSW, passing just to the north of the ring ditch and bisecting a sub-rectangular enclosure, the latter being just north-east of the ring ditch.
The site was partially excavated between 1929 and 1931. Around the inside of the sub-rectangular enclosure were postholes, stakeholes and possible stoneholes. These were interpreted as a wattle and daub fence but it has since been suggested that they may be a revetment for a low internal bank. Several flints were found inside the enclosure and a Late Neolithic date has been suggested.
The ring ditch was about 1.5m wide and 0.75m deep, enclosing an area 20m in diameter. The infill of the ditch included charcoal and burnt timber, which has been radiocarbon dated to the Early Bronze Age. The interior features included postholes, sandstone blocks and three linear hollows. Immediately outside the ditch, a possible hearth and posthole were uncovered, indicating an occupation site. Fragments of four small Bronze Age flat-bottomed pots were also recovered. Initial interpretations suggested that the ring ditch was a circular hut and the sub-rectangular enclosure may have been a stock enclosure. However more recent re-appraisal has suggested that the ring ditch enclosed a mound, revetted with timber posts, and a further horse-shoe shaped feature. There is little to suggest that it is contemporary with either the linear earthwork or the sub-rectangular enclosure, which are probably earlier, Late Neolithic, features. Residual finds from the site have included Mesolithic flints, medieval pottery, and bloomery slag.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: ES 476
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
East Sussex HER MES2164 NMR TQ92SW103, TQ92SW7. PastScape 1302075, 419317.
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing