Causewayed enclosure

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1002964

Date first listed: 01-Jan-1900

Map

Ordnance survey map of Causewayed enclosure
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Staffordshire

District: Lichfield (District Authority)

Parish: Fradley and Streethay

National Grid Reference: SK 15393 14496, SK 15413 14345

Summary

Causewayed enclosure 300m north-east of The Sale Farm.

Reasons for Designation

Between 50 and 70 causewayed enclosures are recorded nationally, mainly in southern and eastern England. They were constructed over a period of some 500 years during the middle part of the Neolithic period (c.3000-2400 BC) but also continued in use into later periods. They vary considerably in size (from 0.8ha to 28ha) and were apparently used for a variety of functions, including settlement, defence, and ceremonial and funerary purposes. However, all comprise a roughly circular to ovoid area bounded by one or more concentric rings of banks and ditches. The ditches, from which the monument class derives its name, were formed of a series of elongated pits punctuated by unexcavated causeways. Causewayed enclosures are amongst the earliest field monuments to survive as recognisable features in the modern landscape and are one of the few known Neolithic monument types. Due to their rarity, their wide diversity of plan, and their considerable age, all causewayed enclosures are considered to be nationally important. The causewayed enclosure 300m north east of The Sale Farm is one of only two positively identified examples of this type of monument in the West Midlands. Their close proximity underlines the importance of this area of Staffordshire in the Earlier Neolithic, at a time when small dispersed communities in Britain had begun to practice pastoral and arable agriculture. Buried archaeological features and deposits survive which will retain significant information about the methods employed in the monuments construction, occupation and use. In addition, the organic remains will provide evidence about the contemporary environment, including landuse in the surrounding area. The ancient field boundaries give an indication of the changes occurring in the landscape in this area after the causewayed enclosure had ceased to be occupied.

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 2 June 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, which falls into two areas of protection, includes the buried remains of a causewayed enclosure. The causewayed enclosure is situated on a river terrace 2km south of the River Trent and 3.25km west of its tributaries, the Rivers Tame and Mease. The monument was discovered during aerial reconnaissance and has been recorded in detail from aerial photographs taken since 1960. The overall dimensions of the enclosure are 220m north to south by 260m east to west. It is oval-shaped in plan and consists of three concentric circuits of segmented or causewayed ditches, which together define an internal area of about 2.6ha. It is clear from the way in which the southern and eastern sides of the enclosure closely follow a low natural scarp that its construction was carefully planned. For the most part the ditches are set approximately 10m apart. Each of the ditch segments is 1m to 2.5m wide and between 2m and 118m long, with the causeways ranging in width from 2m to 6m. Several causeways are defined by ditches with enlarged, rounded terminals, and one causeway to the west is subdivided by a central pit. All these more elaborately defined causeways appear to have served as entrances into the enclosure. Material excavated from the ditches was used to construct adjacent banks. Ploughing over the centuries has resulted in the levelling of these banks and has contributed to the infilling of the ditches. Within the interior of the causewayed enclosure, and cutting across the southern part of the circuit, are a series of ancient field boundary ditches surviving as buried features. Their arrangement and orientation in relation to the causewayed enclosure suggest that most, if not all, are later than the enclosure, and are all possibly of prehistoric date.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: ST 250

Legacy System: RSM - OCN

Sources

Other
NMR: SK11SE18, Pastscape: 921815

End of official listing