Linear earthwork in Gravelpit Copse and near Byes Lane, south west of Silchester


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008727

Date first listed: 28-Nov-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 30-Aug-1995


Ordnance survey map of Linear earthwork in Gravelpit Copse and near Byes Lane, south west of Silchester
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 14:43:55.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hampshire

District: Basingstoke and Deane (District Authority)

Parish: Pamber

County: Hampshire

District: Basingstoke and Deane (District Authority)

Parish: Silchester

National Grid Reference: SU 62223 60646, SU 62549 60794


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. The site was laid out anew as a Roman town in the 1st 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.

The linear earthwork in Gravelpit Copse and near Byes Lane forms part of the 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. Both sections of the earthwork are well-preserved and will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction and use of the monument. They will also 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, which falls into two areas, includes a linear earthwork, one of several associated with the Late Iron Age precursor of the Roman town of Calleva. The earthwork is c.1.5km south west of Calleva and south of the village of Silchester.

The earthwork is in two sections, 326m and 274m long respectively, aligned from south west to north east; the longer south western section, in Gravelpit Copse, curves slightly to the south. There is a gap of c.70m separating the two sections of the earthwork, through which pass the Silchester Brook and one of its tributary streams, and the road between Little London and Silchester. In Gravelpit Copse, the earthwork has been sited to take advantage of the natural fall of the ground towards the stream to its south east. No sign of a ditch is recognisable but, for almost half its length from the south western end, the bank appears as a gradually deepening step in the natural slope. The bank has a fall of up to 2m to the south east but rises no more than 0.3m above the adjoining ground level to the north west. Near the north eastern end of the feature, the bank has a maximum width of c.8m. The earthwork terminates abruptly at a later boundary bank to the west of String Lane and is not visible in the low-lying, boggy area between the lane and the Silchester Brook.

The north eastern section of the earthwork is flanked by Byes Lane and a roadside bank which have destroyed any evidence of a contemporary bank at the north western side of the earthwork. This section of the earthwork includes a ditch and bank. The ditch is marked by a steep fall of up to 3m at the north west side, albeit augmented by the roadside bank, while the low bank, up to 0.6m high and 7m wide, lies along its south eastern side. The ditch is up to 10m wide. To the south west, the earthwork terminates at the Little London to Silchester road and to the north east it stops at a modern property boundary. It is also interrupted near the midpoint by an entry to the wood from Byes Lane.

Excluded from the scheduling are all fencing, signs and associated posts, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 24333

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing