Bronze Age and Romano-British enclosure on Martin Down, east of Bokerley Junction


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010870

Date first listed: 20-Oct-1936

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Mar-1995


Ordnance survey map of Bronze Age and Romano-British enclosure on Martin Down, east of Bokerley Junction
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 10:27:35.


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

County: Hampshire

District: New Forest (District Authority)

Parish: Martin

National Grid Reference: SU 04301 20042


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

Reasons for Designation

Small enclosed settlements dating from the Middle Bronze Age are often associated with earlier field systems and are known on some sites to have replaced earlier unenclosed settlements. Enclosures of both sub-rectangular and curvilinear plan are known; the sites are wholly or partly surrounded by a ditch, bank or palisade, or by a combination or succession of all three. Where excavated, sites have usually been found to contain a small group of domestic buildings sufficient for a single or extended family group, although a few larger enclosures are known. Evidence of a succession of buildings has been found on some sites. The buildings are usually circular in plan but occasional rectangular structures are known. Both types of building would have provided a combination of living accommodation and storage or working areas. Storage pits have been recorded inside buildings on some sites but are generally rarely present. In addition to pottery and worked flint, large quantities of burnt stone and metal working debris have been found in some enclosures. Although the precise figure is not known, many small enclosed settlements are located on the chalk downland of southern England. As a class they are integral to understanding Bronze Age settlement and land use strategies, while their often close proximity to the numerous burial monuments in the area will provide insights into the relationship between secular and ceremonial activity during the Middle Bronze Age. A small number of small enclosed settlements survive on downland as visible earthworks; the majority, however, occur in areas of more intensive cultivation and survive in buried form, visible only from the air as soil marks and crop marks. All examples with visible earthworks, and those in buried form which retain significant surviving remains, are considered to be of national importance.

Much of the archaeological landscape of Martin Down and the surrounding area is preserved as earthworks or crop-marks and these together will provide a detailed understanding of the nature and development of early downland agriculture. The enclosure on Martin Down is known from the excavation by Pitt Rivers to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction and use of the site and providing an insight into agricultural practice in the Bronze Age and Romano-British periods. The area has recently been the subject of a detailed survey.


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


The monument includes a sub-rectangular enclosure situated near the head of a dry valley on Martin Down, a National Nature Reserve. Excavations carried out by General Pitt Rivers in 1895-6 showed that the enclosure was constructed in the Middle Bronze Age but evidence was also found of later Romano-British activity on the site. Approximately half of the interior and all of the bank and ditch were excavated, the present earthwork being Pitt Rivers' reconstruction. The enclosure is surrounded by a single bank and external ditch and has internal measurements of c.90m (south west to north east) by 63m. A gap of c.40m occurs at the eastern end of the north side, which excavation showed to be original. The eastern bank and ditch extend slightly north of the projected line of the northern side. There are two entrances: one c.5m wide in the eastern side and the other c.7m wide in the south side. The bank is up to 10m wide, has a maximum height of c.1.5m above the bottom of the ditch and rises to a maximum of 0.7m above the interior. The ditch is up to 6m wide. The bank is reduced and the ditch infilled at the western side of the enclosure, the site of a recent field boundary. Excavation showed that the ditch had silted-up almost completely by the Romano-British period and a child burial found within it is thought to date from this phase. Finds recovered during Pitt Rivers' excavation included much worked flint, animal bone and Bronze Age and Romano-British pottery. Recent reconsideration of the pottery distribution shows that Romano-British material was much more commonly recovered from the ditch than from the interior of the enclosure and it has thus been suggested that the focus of activity at this time lay beyond rather than within the enclosure, perhaps in the area of a field system not far to the north. All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them 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: 24341

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bowen, H C, Eagles, B N (ed), The archaeology of Bokerley Dyke, (1990), 107-9
Bowen, H C, Eagles, B N (ed), The archaeology of Bokerley Dyke, (1990)
Bowen, H C, Eagles, B N (ed), The archaeology of Bokerley Dyke, (1990)
Pitt Rivers, A, Excavations in Cranborne Chase, (1898), 187-8
Pitt Rivers, A, Excavations in Cranborne Chase, (1898), 187-8
Pitt Rivers, A, Excavations in Cranborne Chase, (1898)

End of official listing