Cursus, enclosures and other cropmarks 900m NNW of Barford Church
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005710
Date first listed: 11-Jan-1971
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Jan-2019 at 18:39:28.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Warwick (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SP 27008 61829
Cursus and an enclosed Iron Age or Romano-British farmstead 530m south-west of Longbridge Farm.
Reasons for Designation
A cursus is an elongated rectilinear earthwork, the length of which is normally greater than 250m and more than ten times its width. The sides are usually defined by a bank and external ditch, but occasionally by a line of closely set pits. The two long sides run roughly parallel and may incorporate earlier monuments of other classes. Access to the interior was restricted to a small number of entranceways, usually near the ends of the long sides. Cursus monuments vary enormously in length, from 250m at the lower end of the range up to 5.6km in the case of the Dorset Cursus. The width is normally in the range 20m to 60m. The greatest variations in the ground plan occur at the terminals, with a variety of both round ended and square ended examples recorded. Dateable finds from cursus monuments are few. Early Neolithic pottery has been found in the primary fill of some ditches, but there is also evidence of construction in the Late Neolithic period. There are indications re-cutting or extending of the ditches at some sites and the distribution of monuments of later periods often respects cursus monuments demonstrating their continued recognition through time. Taken together, these features indicate construction and use over a long period of time. Cursus monuments have been interpreted in various ways since their initial identification. The name itself is the Latin term for race track and this was one of the functions suggested by Stukeley in the 18th century. More recently a ritual or ceremonial role has been suggested. Of the 40 or so examples recorded nationally, most are widely scattered across central and eastern England, though the distribution extends to northern counties. The majority lie on the flat, well drained gravel terraces of major river valleys, but a number are known on the chalk down lands of Dorset and Wiltshire. As one of the few known classes of Neolithic monument, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all cursus monuments are considered to be important.
Later Iron Age and Romano-British occupation included a range of settlement types. The surviving remains comprise farmsteads, hamlets, villages and hillforts, which together demonstrate an important sequence of settlement. The non-defensive enclosed farm or homestead represents the smallest and simplest of these types. Most early examples are characterised by a curvilinear enclosure with circular domestic buildings and associated agricultural structures. Where excavated, these sites are also found to contain pits or rectangular post- built structures for the storage of grain and other produce, evidence of an organised and efficient farming system. The surrounding enclosures would have provided protection against cattle rustling and tribal raiding. The simple farmsteads are sometimes superseded by rectilinear or triangular shaped enclosures with rectilinear buildings and many examples were occupied over an extended period and some grew in size and complexity. In central and southern England, most enclosed Iron Age farmsteads are situated in areas which are now under intensive arable cultivation. As a result, although some examples survive with upstanding earthworks, the majority have been recorded as crop- and soil-marks appearing on aerial photographs. Despite cultivation the cursus and enclosed Iron Age or Romano-British farmstead 530m south west of Longbridge Farm survives comparatively well and will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, function, chronological relationship between features, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, ritual practices and overall landscape context.
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. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.
This monument includes a cursus and an enclosed Iron Age or Romano-British farmstead situated on level ground between the Longbridge Brook and one of its tributaries on the western floodplain of the River Avon. The cursus and farmstead survive as entirely buried structures, layers and deposits visible as a series of crop and soil marks on aerial photographs with only the slightest of visible surface indications. The crop marks are clear and include an elongated rectangular enclosure with precise right angled corners, an irregular shaped but largely curving enclosure and a second smaller enclosure together with several successive additional ancillary features of varying size and shape. The longer rectangular feature has been identified as a Neolithic cursus whilst the larger curving enclosure is the farmstead. Occupation of the area has clearly been prolonged.
Further archaeological features in the vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: WA 140
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
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