A Springfield style enclosure, a group of associated prehistoric pits and ditches and an oval barrow 1km NNE of Langdon Abbey


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009020

Date first listed: 31-Oct-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Sep-1994


Ordnance survey map of A Springfield style enclosure, a group of associated prehistoric pits and ditches and an oval barrow 1km NNE of Langdon Abbey
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Dover (District Authority)

Parish: Langdon

County: Kent

District: Dover (District Authority)

Parish: Sutton

National Grid Reference: TR 32890 47919


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

Reasons for Designation

Springfield style enclosures are roughly circular enclosures, typically found on a hilltop or spur and dating to the Middle/Late Bronze Age, with some occupied into the Early Iron Age. They are named after the type site at Springfield, Essex, one of the few examples in the country which has been fully excavated. They are characterised by a single enclosure ditch with a simple internal bank or box rampart. Within the enclosure, one or more circular buildings may be found with numerous pits and postholes. Their function appears to be domestic and such sites will yield archaeological and environmental information about the lifestyle of the communities living in them. They are found in eastern England, usually surviving as cropmark sites visible through aerial photography, and are thought to number no more than fifty in total. All surviving examples are considered to be of national importance and will merit protection.

Despite the fact that its earthworks have been levelled by ploughing, the Springfield style enclosure and the associated group of ditches and pits c.1km NNE of Langdon Abbey survive as buried features and contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. Situated 400m to the south west is a bowl barrow. This is broadly contemporary with the enclosure and its associated earthworks. Together these will provide evidence for the relationsip between settlement, ceremonial and burial practices during the period of their construction and use.

Oval barrows are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early to Middle Neolithic periods, with the majority of positively dated barrows belonging to the later part of the range. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds of a roughly elliptical plan, usually surrounded by quarry ditches. These vary from paired `banana-shaped' flanking ditches to `U-shaped', unbroken oval ditches nearly or wholly encircling the mound. Along with long barrows, oval barrrows represent the burial places of Britain's earliest farming communities and are among the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the modern landscape. Where investigated, oval barrows have produced two distinct types of burial rite: communal burials of groups of individuals, including children, laid directly on the ground surface before the barrow was built; and burials of one or two adults interred in a grave pit centrally placed beneath the barrow mound. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and for periodic ceremonial activity which may have taken place at the barrow after its construction. It is therefore probable that oval barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. They are a rare monument type, with less than 50 recorded examples in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks or buried features, all oval barrows are considered to be nationally important.

Despite the levelling of its earthworks by modern ploughing, the oval barrow c.55m south west of the Springfield style enclosure will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. Its proximity to the later, Bronze Age settlement to the north provides evidence for the changing nature of land use during the prehistoric period.


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


The monument includes a group of prehistoric crop and soil mark sites which survive in buried form, and which are visible as dark, ditched features on aerial photographs representing a settlement enclosure, linear boundaries and a burial mound. It is situated on a chalk rise in the south eastern foothills of the Kent Downs.

The largest and most north easterly feature is a so-called `Springfield style' enclosure which has two concentric, sub-circular ditches c.4m wide, covering an area measuring c.70m in diameter. Originally, the ditches would have been edged with inner banks, although these have been levelled by past ploughing. A number of crop marks are visible within the enclosure, including the possible remains of a small rectangular structure which appears to partially overlie the inner ditch on the north eastern side, at least three circular features on the northern edge of the outer ditch and a sub-circular pit lying between the ditches on the south eastern side.

To the north west of the enclosure is a group of associated linear ditches which are interpreted as the remains of prehistoric boundaries. Interspersed with these are a number of more indistinct crop marks most likely to represent pits, working areas or ancillary buildings associated with the enclosure. Around 55m to the south west is an oval barrow aligned north east-south west, although levelled, visible on aerial photographs as representing a mound, measuring c.35m by 20m flanked on either side by a curved ditch from which material used to construct the mound was excavated. The ditches survive as buried features c.3m wide. Within the enclosed area formerly occupied by the mound are two roughly circular pits c.5m in diameter.

The modern fence near the northern edge of the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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: 25460

Legacy System: RSM


AM107, Coad, V, SAM 257 Record form AA52822/1, (1992)
NMR, 1978+, various, TR 32 47/2-16 & 7517MAL/78005, (1978)
see file AA52822/1, Hogarth, AC, A/P 68, (1970)
see file AA52822/1, Hogarth, AC, Hogarth photo A/P 68, (1970)

End of official listing