Reasons for Designation
Banjo enclosure is the term used by archaeologists for 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. These features, together with the ditches, generally contain abundant artefacts, and can provide environmental evidence illustrating the landscape in which the monument was set, and the economy of its inhabitants. 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. Banjo enclosures are largely known from cropmarks and soil marks recorded from the air, although a few survive as earthworks. Over 200 examples are recorded nationally, the majority of which are located in Wessex and around the upper Thames Valley: particular concentrations have been noted on the chalk downland of Hampshire. Elsewhere they are very rare, with isolated examples recorded in the Midlands and the north. The existence of further examples is likely to be confirmed by aerial photographic survey. The banjo enclosure 245m north west of Lower Hazel Farm survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function, development, social and territorial significance, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.
The monument includes a banjo enclosure, situated on the upper north western valley sides of a stream leading to the Tockington Mill Rhine. The enclosure survives as an oval area which measures approximately 100m long by 60m wide. It is defined by a low stony bank of up to 2.4m wide and 0.5m high which is best preserved on the northern side where there is an out turned avenue -type entrance.
Sources: PastScape 201536
South Gloucester HER 1469