Section of a linear boundary from 350m north east of Westfield Farm on Lake Down to Lake Bottom

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010881

Date first listed: 22-Feb-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of Section of a linear boundary from 350m north east of Westfield Farm on Lake Down to Lake Bottom
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Location

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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Wilsford cum Lake

National Grid Reference: SU 12092 39303

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

A small number of areas in southern England appear to have acted as foci for ceremonial and ritual activity during the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. Two of the best known and the earliest recognised areas are around Avebury and Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a World Heritage Site. The area of chalk downland which surrounds Stonehenge contains one of the densest and most varied groups of Neolithic and Bronze Age field monuments in Britain. Included within the area are Stonehenge itself, the Stonehenge cursus, the Durrington Walls henge, and a variety of burial monuments, many grouped into cemeteries. The area has been the subject of archaeological research since the 18th century when Stukeley recorded many of the monuments and partially excavated a number of the burial mounds. More recently, the collection of artefacts from the surfaces of ploughed fields has supplemented the evidence for ritual and burial by revealing the intensity of contemporary settlement and land-use. In view of the importance of the area, all ceremonial and sepulchral monuments of this period which retain significant archaeological remains are identified as nationally important.

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to more than 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both, as in the present case. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans the millenium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been reused later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape, their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups which constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land-use in the Bronze Age. All well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection. The section of linear boundary running from 350m north east of Westfield Farm on Lake Down to Lake Bottom survives well and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a section of linear boundary running from a point 350m north east of Westfield Farm on Lake Down to Lake Bottom, running along a north east facing slope with views across the Avon valley, and climbing the northern slope of Rox Hill. The monument is part of a complex of boundary earthworks which extend for over 4km from west of Winterbourne Stoke Crossroads to Rox Hill in the south east, with extensions north east beyond Normanton Gorse. The linear boundary is c.1200m in length and consists of a ditch 5m wide with an average depth of c.1m. Either side of the ditch are banks, 0.5m high and 3m to 5m wide to the north east and 0.5m high and up to 3m wide to the south west. Aerial photographs reveal that the boundary extends as a buried feature c.1000m further north west to connect to a visible section of similar earthworks near the Lake round barrow cemetery. This section of the boundary has been reduced by cultivation and is now difficult to identify on the ground and is not included in the scheduling. A further section of linear boundary joins it at a right angle in its south east sector, but this too is difficult to identify and has not been included. A similar earthwork runs parallel to this monument 300m to the south. The Lake Down round barrow cemetery occupies part of the land between the two monuments. Further south east the intervening strip is occupied by a prehistoric field system which abuts the earthwork north of Rox Hill. The field system is difficult to identify on the ground and has not been included in the scheduling. The parallel earthwork is the subject of a separate scheduling, along with the Lake Down cemetery. Above Lake Bottom the linear boundary expands to a width of c.30m to incorporate what is interpreted as an earlier earthwork, probably the remains of a round barrow. All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, but 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 10490

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 259
RCHME, , Stonehenge and its Environs, (1979), 26

End of official listing