Ring ditch and rectilinear enclosure, 400m WNW of the Old Vicarage
Reasons for Designation
The ring ditch and rectilinear enclosure 400m WNW of the Old Vicarage are thought to be the remains of an Iron Age round house and a Romano-British farmstead.
Iron Age round houses are circular structures, normally indicated by one or more rings of post holes and/or a circular gulley, and usually interpreted as being of domestic function. The walls could be constructed of wattle and daub or closely packed stones between timber planking and they are considered to have had conical thatched roofs.
Romano-British farmsteads are small agricultural units comprising groups of up to four circular or rectangular houses along with associated structures which may include wells, storage pits, corn-drying ovens and granary stores. These were sometimes constructed within a yard surrounded by a rectangular or curvilinear enclosure, and associated field systems, trackways and cemeteries may be located nearby. Most Romano-British farmsteads in south east England have been discovered by the analysis of aerial photographs. They usually survive in the form of buried features visible as crop and soil marks and occasionally as low earthworks. Often situated on marginal agricultural land and found throughout the British Isles, they date to the period of Roman occupation (c.AD 43-450). Romano-British farmsteads are generally regarded as low status settlements, with the members of one family or small kinship group pursuing a mixed farming economy. Excavation at these sites has shown a marked continuity with later prehistoric settlements. There is little evidence of personal wealth and a limited uptake of the Romanised way of life. Romano-British farmsteads occur throughout southern England, but cluster on the chalk downland of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. As the most representative form of rural settlement in the region during the Roman period, all Romano-British farmsteads which have been positively identified and which have significant surviving remains will merit protection.
Despite cultivation on the site in the past, the ring ditch and rectilinear enclosure 400m WNW survive well as crop marks. The site has not been excavated and retains potential for further archaeological investigation. The enclosure and ring ditch will contain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the features and the landscape in which they were constructed.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 June 2014. The 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 and rectilinear enclosure surviving as buried remains. It is situated on gently sloping, low-lying, ground near Shotfield Farm, east of Preston.
The features, which have been recorded as cropmarks, represent the surviving ditches of a Romano-British farmstead and an Iron Age round house. The rectilinear enclosure is delineated by a buried ditch visible as a crop mark. It is orientated north-west to south-east and is about 100m long by 87m wide. There is an apparent entrance, evident from a 25m break in the ditch, in the north-east corner. The ring ditch is about 26m in diameter. The enclosure appears to overlie the east side of the ring ditch, which is situated near its south-east corner. Crop marks within the enclosure are considered to be pits associated with the occupation of the site.
Iron Age and Roman occupation remains, including pits, flints, animal bones, pottery fragments and a spindle whorl, have been found in the vicinity of the site.
In 1960-61, eleven Iron Age pits were discovered in the main arable field of Shotfield Farm during the course of laying a water-main from Stourmouth to Adisham. The ring ditch and rectilinear enclosure were recorded as part of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) Kent Mapping Project, using aerial photographs taken in 1986-7.
Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity of this site but are not included because they have not been formally assessed. Two linear features are situated immediately to the south of the rectilinear enclosure and could be remains of Romano-British boundaries or enclosures associated with the past management of this part of the landscape.