Multi-period site at Brockley Warren 1.56km NNW of St Mary’s Church
Reasons for Designation
The multi-period site at Brockley Warren includes includes a regular-aggregate field system, two bowl barrows, part of a prehistoric linear earthwork, a banjo enclosure, prehistoric enclosures, Iron Age settlements, a prehistoric or Romano-British pond, and a Romano-British settlement, which largely survive as cropmarks. On modern arable sites, where cultivation has taken place, the earthworks of archaeological monuments are sometimes levelled or the ditches in-filled and can instead be identified as crop and soil marks. These occur due to differential crop growth (crop marks) or differences in soil colour (soil marks) as a result of buried archaeological features. Where these have been excavated, they are often shown to contain significant archaeological remains and deposits surviving below the modern ground level.
The two bowl barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Although denuded by ploughing these examples will retain archaeological and environmental information relating to the mound and the landscape in which they were constructed.
Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) to the end of the fifth century AD. They usually cover areas of up to 100ha and comprise a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction, with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at right angles to one another. Individual fields generally fall within the 0.1ha-3.2ha range and can be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls or reaves, orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses. Component features common to most systems include entrances and trackways, and the settlements or farmsteads from which people utilised the fields over the years have been identified in some cases. These are usually situated close to or within the field system. Such is the case at Brockley Warren, where prehistoric enclosures, Iron Age settlements, a Romano-British settlement and a pond are associated with the field system. The settlements are likely to be farmsteads, which utilised the surrounding fields. They are not necessarily contemporary with the laying out of the field boundaries but may have made use of the field system at a later date. Iron Age farmsteads are generally represented by curvilinear enclosures containing evidence of a small group of circular domestic buildings and associated agricultural structures. 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. The pond is also associated with the field system and may have been used as a water source for livestock.
Despite having been partly levelled by ploughing, the regular aggregate field system, associated settlements, enclosures and pond have not been excavated and hold potential for the recovery of archaeological and environmental information relating to the use and history of the site and the landscape in which it was constructed. Together they provide valuable evidence for prolonged human activity and management of the chalk downland landscape in this part of Hampshire.
The banjo enclosure is a distinctive type of prehistoric settlement. They were mostly constructed and used during the Middle Iron Age (400-100 BC), although some remained in use up to the time of the Roman Conquest (AD 43). Typical banjo enclosures have an oval or sub-rectangular central area, rarely greater than 0.4ha in size, encircled by a broad, steep-sided ditch and an external bank. There is characteristically a single entrance, approached by an avenue up to 90m long formed by out-turnings of the enclosure's ditch. The entrance to the avenue sometimes has further ‘antennae’ ditches, giving a funnel-like appearance; or it may be connected to a transverse linear ditch. The enclosures resemble banjos when viewed in plan, hence their name. Excavated banjo enclosures have been found to contain evidence of habitation, evidence for wooden structures provided by post holes and drainage gullies, and storage and refuse pits. The enclosures are often associated with other types of Iron Age monuments, including other enclosures, field systems, trackways and other unenclosed settlement forms. Together, these monument types provide information concerning the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.
The Iron Age banjo enclosure at Brockley Warren is a rare surviving example. The location in close proximity to other prehistoric enclosures, settlement remains and the regular aggregate field system enhances its importance. The banjo enclosure has not been excavated and will contain further archaeological and environmental information relating to the enclosure and its surrounding landscape.
The origin of the prehistoric bivallate linear earthwork is uncertain, although it is thought to be a prehistoric linear boundary. Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans at least a millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later.
Despite having been levelled through ploughing, the part of the prehistoric linear earthwork at Brockley Warren will contain below-ground archaeological and environmental information relating to the earthwork and its surrounding landscape.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 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 regular-aggregate field system, two bowl barrows, part of a prehistoric linear earthwork, a banjo enclosure, prehistoric enclosures, Iron Age settlements, a prehistoric or Romano-British pond, and a Romano-British settlement all surviving as buried remains visible as cropmarks and, in some cases, also as earthworks. It is situated on chalk downland at Brockley Warren, north-west of the village of Crawley.
The regular-aggregate field system has been largely levelled by ploughing but lynchets and field boundaries have been observed across a wide area as cropmarks and will partly survive as buried remains.
The two bowl barrows are situated towards the summit of a hill to the south-east of Spital Bushes. They are approximately 220m apart and have been denuded by ploughing but are visible as slight earthworks and cropmarks. The bowl barrow to the north-west is a broadly circular shaped mound about 25m in diameter and 0.2m high. The surrounding quarry ditch from which material to construct the mound was derived, survives as a buried feature. The bowl barrow to the south-east is a broadly circular shaped mound about 18m in diameter and 0.5m high. The surrounding quarry ditch from which material to construct the mound was derived, survives as a buried feature.
At the north of the scheduled area, on north facing slopes to the south of the junction of Martins Lane and the A30, is part of a bivallate linear earthwork. This has been levelled by ploughing but survives as buried remains visible as cropmarks. These include two parallel curvilinear ditches running broadly ESE to WSW. It is thought to overlie the field boundaries of the regular aggregate field system.
At the west of the scheduled area, in a modern field bounded by the Ox Drove track to the north and a road to the west, is an Iron Age Banjo enclosure. It is denoted by a curvilinear ditch, which survives as a buried feature visible as a cropmark. Further to the east are two further curvilinear ditched enclosures visible as cropmarks.
Between Spital Bushes and the Ox Drove trackway are the buried remains of an Iron Age settlement visible as cropmarks. It is delimited by a ditched sub-circular enclosure. Surface finds of pottery sherds and burnt flint have been observed following ploughing.
At the south-east of the scheduled area, south of the Ox Drove trackway, is another prehistoric settlement on a south facing slope. The settlement is delimited by a double-ditched curvilinear enclosure visible as a cropmark. It encloses an area of nearly 2.5 acres and contains a number of pits within the interior. There are several linear ditches visible as cropmarks which impinge on the enclosure from the west. A short distance below the summit of the hill and north of Spital Bushes are the buried remains of a Romano-British settlement. During the Second World War, digging of trenches by the Royal Artillery revealed Romano-British occupation remains including a rubbish pit, animal bones, Roman coarse ware pottery and a coin hoard of approximately 900 Roman coins.
At the east of the scheduled area towards a valley bottom is a sub-circular earthwork considered to be a prehistoric or Romano-British pond associated with the field system. It is a sub-circular depression about 50m in diameter with banks on the east and west up to 10m wide and 1m high. From north and south there are hollowed field-ways, which extend to the edge of the depression.
Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity of this monument but are not included because they have not been formally assessed.