Causewayed enclosure 900m west of Great Wilbraham parish church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009103

Date first listed: 05-Jan-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Jan-1993


Ordnance survey map of Causewayed enclosure 900m west of Great Wilbraham parish church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cambridgeshire

District: South Cambridgeshire (District Authority)

Parish: Great Wilbraham

National Grid Reference: TL 53992 57817


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

Reasons for Designation

Between 50 and 70 causewayed enclosures are recorded nationally, mainly in southern and eastern England. They were constructed over a period of some 500 years during the middle part of the Neolithic period (c.3000-2400 BC) but also continued in use into later periods. They vary considerably in size (from 2 to 70 acres) and were apparently used for a variety of functions, including settlement, defence, and ceremonial and funerary purposes. However, all comprise a roughly circular to ovoid area bounded by one or more concentric rings of banks and ditches. The ditches, from which the monument class derives its name, were formed of a series of elongated pits punctuated by unexcavated causeways. Causewayed enclosures are amongst the earliest field monuments to survive as recognisable features in the modern landscape and are one of the few known Neolithic monument types. Due to their rarity, their wide diversity of plan, and their considerable age, all causewayed enclosures are considered to be nationally important.

Despite being reduced by cultivation, the monument 900m west of Great Wilbraham church is one of the best-preserved of its type in Cambridgeshire and, because partial excavation has demonstrated the presence of three distinct types of deposits, it is known to retain conditions for the recovery of evidence pertaining to the use of the site.


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


The monument includes a causewayed enclosure, defined by a double circuit of ditches. It is located on a low-lying knoll of chalk marl surrounded by peat, situated to the south of the Little Wilbraham River. Low ploughed-down earthworks mark the location of the monument but the enclosure is most clearly observed from the air and is recorded on aerial photographs; the following description is largely based on the photographic record. The enclosure is roughly oval in plan and has maximum dimensions of 260m east-west by 200m north-south. The outer ditch is estimated to be 4m wide and is interrupted by at least five causeways on its south-western arm. The inner ditch is separated from the outer by a distance of between 20-50m and is of similar width, although the circuit is less clearly defined than that of the outer ditch. Several poorly defined curvilinear features, thought to be subsidiary enclosure ditches, have been observed towards the western end of the interior. A straight linear feature, on an approximate northerly alignment, which runs across the centre of the enclosure, is thought to be a later field boundary or drainage ditch. Small scale excavations, accompanied by geophysical survey and surface collection of finds, were carried out in 1975-6. Three types of deposits were found to survive; features cut into bedrock, covered by layers of material eroded from the top of the knoll, and associated with peat containing waterlogged organic materials. Two phases of ditch construction and a palisade trench inside the outer ditch were recorded while a variety of artefacts of Neolithic date were recovered. There was also evidence of minor re-use of the site in the Roman period.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 20449

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Palmer, R, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Interrupted Ditch Enclosures in Britain, , Vol. 42, (1976), 185
CUCAP: BJC 50-7, (1972)
CUCAP: BUY 20-2, (1976)
CUCAP: BXG 65-75, (1975)
Unpublished summary in parish file, 1976,
Wilson, D R, Antiquity, (1975)

End of official listing