Flex Ditch


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008725

Date first listed: 22-Oct-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Aug-1995


Ordnance survey map of Flex Ditch
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hampshire

District: Basingstoke and Deane (District Authority)

Parish: Silchester

National Grid Reference: SU 62620 61708


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

The Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum, Silchester, is in open country and therefore one of the small number of Roman town sites where subsequent building has not obscured the origins and development of the site. The town began as a settlement in the pre-Roman Iron Age, when earthworks enclosing the site and dividing its environs were constructed, but was laid out anew as a Roman town in the first century AD, becoming a civitas capital, or administrative centre, for the local people, the Atrebates. Recent excavations have indicated that the earliest occupation of the site dates from the second half of the first century BC. The complete plan of the Iron Age settlement is not known, but extensive excavation within the town walls in the years between 1890 and 1909 has enabled the layout of the subsequent Roman town to be broadly established. The end of Roman administration in the fifth century AD resulted in the decline of Calleva and, although the town continued to be occupied for a while, it failed to develop further, reverting to open country once again. Flex Ditch forms part of an extensive complex of earthworks lying to the south and west of Calleva which is thought to be associated with the town's Iron Age precursor. The ditch is of such a size that it remains well-preserved despite the loss of the bank at its northern side during the construction of the houses and associated structures which now surround it. The site contains archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction and use of the monument and will enhance our understanding of territorial division and defence in the pre-Roman period.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a ditch of probable Iron Age date c.1km south west of the Roman town of Calleva, on the outskirts of the modern village of Silchester. The ditch crosses the highest part of a spur, extending between a dry valley to the south west and the valley of a tributary of the Silchester Brook to the north east. The ditch, which is up to 25m wide and has a maximum depth of c.6m, was probably intended to restrict access from the south to the ridge of higher ground to the north. On lower ground to the south and west of Flex Ditch are several other linear earthworks extending north eastwards towards Calleva, which is at the eastern end of the ridge. The Roman road between Calleva and Sorviodunum (Old Sarum) passed close to or cut across the south side of the ditch at its north eastern end. This end of the ditch has been more recently disturbed by the construction of the road between Little London and Silchester, and is now boggy and partly water-filled. The south western end of the ditch was remodelled and a bank at its northern side was levelled during the construction of houses, paths, garages and parking areas around the site. Excluded from the scheduling are the footpaths, lamp- and signposts, but the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 24331

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing