Circular enclosures centring 300yds (270m) W of Wychnor Junction
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006072
Date first listed: 21-Jan-1973
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: East Staffordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SK 19139 16282
Four circular ring ditches and pit alignments 460m north east of Wychnor Bridges Farm.
Reasons for Designation
Round barrows, the 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. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. They provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities.
Henges are ritual or ceremonial centres which date to the Late Neolithic period (2800-2000 BC). They were constructed as roughly circular or oval-shaped enclosures comprising a flat area over 20m in diameter enclosed by a ditch and external bank. One, two or four entrances provided access to the interior of the monument, which may have contained a variety of features including timber or stone circles, post or stone alignments, pits, burials or central mounds. Finds from the ditches and interiors of henges provide important evidence for the chronological development of the sites, the types of activity that occurred within them and the nature of the environment in which they were constructed. They are generally situated on low ground, often close to springs and water-courses. Henges are rare nationally with about 80 known examples. As one of the few types of identified Neolithic structures and in view of their comparative rarity, all henges are considered to be of national importance.
The four circular ring ditches and pit alignments 460m north east of Wychnor Bridges Farm survive as buried archaeological remains in an area of considerable prehistoric activity. Although traces of earthworks appear to have been denuded through ploughing, buried archaeological features, artefacts and archaeological and environmental deposits will survive which will provide important information relating both to the monument and the wider ritual landscape in which it was constructed.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 7 July 2015. 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 the buried remains of four ring ditches and pit alignments situated on gentle sloping ground just over 800m to the north of the confluence of the rivers Trent and Tame. Four circular ring ditches and linear pit alignments have been identified as cropmarks from aerial photography and possibly represent Bronze Age barrows and a large circular henge monument. At SK 1911 1632 a ring ditch with at least one ditch encloses an area measuring approximately 15m in diameter; at SK 1912 1628 a ring ditch with at least one ditch encloses an area of approximately 10m in diameter; and at SK 1927 1627 a ring ditch with at least one ditch encloses an area of approximately 10m in diameter. At SK 1916 1623 a large circular ring ditch with at least two ditches encloses an area of approximately 60m and may represent the site of a henge monument. Geophysical survey has indicated internal arrangements within the enclosure. A pair of linear ditches radiate out to the east of the large circular enclosure and cropmark evidence suggests these are closely spaced pit alignments. Further cropmarks have been identified within the area of protection which possibly represent medieval field boundaries.
The river valleys of the Trent and Tame are known to have been an area of activity during the prehistoric period and north of the confluence of the two rivers appears to have been a focus for the development of a late Neolithic and early Bronze Age ceremonial landscape known as the Catholme Ceremonial Complex which is located only 500m to the north.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: ST 214
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Where Rivers Meet: Landscape, Ritual, Settlement and the Archaeology of River Gravels, accessed 2009 from http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/resources.html?where_rivers_meet_eh_2006
HER: DST5841, NMR: SK11NE10, Pastscape: 921719 and HMR: SK11NE138, Pastscape: 1433668
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