Hob Ditch Earthworks
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005729
Date first listed: 19-Feb-1976
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This copy shows the entry on 24-Mar-2019 at 19:36:11.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)
District: Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SP 13272 68470, SP 13524 68600, SP 13804 68772, SP 14014 68980
Part of a linear boundary called Hobditch 60m south of Rivermead.
Reasons for Designation
This monument, which falls into four areas, includes part of a linear boundary situated on the summits of ridges in rolling countryside and crossing the valley of the River Alne. The parts of the linear boundary survive differentially as earthworks and associated buried features throughout its length. In places there appear to be two banks and three associated ditches; in some sections there is a single bank with a ditch on either side; and the final combination is a bank with two ditches closely associated with a parallel ditched road to the south. These multiple uses and combinations have all been observed during many partial excavations from 1965-9, 1971 and 1987 for example the latter producing a radiocarbon date of around 2530 BC which implied pre Roman origins. Other excavations confirmed the gravel built Roman road associated with some sections and found Romano-British pottery and other material associated with ditch fills and dating from the 2nd – 4th centuries AD. The earthworks have in the past been attributed the defences of a possible oppidum, but since other similar defensive structures do exist elsewhere it seems more likely they form part of complex and extensive prehistoric and Romano-British defence system within the Forest of Arden. Some sources suggest it continued to be of significance as a boundary throughout the medieval period. The excavations have confirmed many of the defences were multi-phase, the ditches were found to be up to 5.8m wide and 2.1m deep and had been re-cut on numerous occasions and the banks were up to 15m wide and 1.5-2m high. They were also seen to differ widely in construction technique. The immediate association of a probable Roman road with part of the boundary is also significant. The feature is known locally as the ‘Hobditch Causeway’.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 3 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.
Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances which vary from 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 the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been reused later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use from the Bronze Age and beyond since they indicate long established division of land. The part of a linear boundary called Hobditch 60m south of Rivermead survives well and will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, date, function, social organisation, territorial significance, adaptive re-use, economic, political and social significance, maintenance and overall landscape context.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: WA 177
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Warwickshire HER 1202
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