Causewayed enclosure and bowl barrow at Little Trees Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011717

Date first listed: 04-Oct-1995


Ordnance survey map of Causewayed enclosure and bowl barrow at Little Trees Hill
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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: Stapleford

National Grid Reference: TL 48880 52958


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.

Although partially eroded by ploughing, the causewayed enclosure at Little Trees Hill will have retained in good condition the deeper features within the interior. The surrounding ditches, which survive as buried features, will contain evidence relating to the construction of the enclosure and artefacts illustrating its occupation and function. The significance of the monument is enhanced by its association with an adjacent trackway, which will allow the relationship between the enclosure and its setting to be analysed over time; and by the presence of a bowl barrow within the interior which represents the continuation of the site's use into the Bronze Age period. Its importance is also enhanced by its accessibility to the public. Bowl barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent positions, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation. The bowl barrow on Little Trees Hill survives in a very well preserved condition, in marked contrast to the majority of barrows within Cambridgeshire which are now only visible from the air in the form of cropmarks and soilmarks. The barrow forms part of a wider group of barrows which extends across the chalk uplands of North Hertfordshire and south Cambridgeshire. The importance of the barrow is enhanced not only by its association with this wider distribution of similar monuments, but also by its archaeological relationship with the earlier causewayed enclosure in which it is situated.


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


The monument includes a causewayed enclosure and a bowl barrow, both situated on a prominent chalk knoll to the south of the junction between the Babraham Road (A1307) and Haverhill Road, some 500m to the south west of the Iron Age hillfort known as Wandlebury Camp. Although no earthworks can be observed on the ground, the causewayed enclosure is clearly visible from the air, and is recorded on aerial photographs. The following description is therefore based on the photographic record. The enclosure is roughly circular in plan with a maximum diameter of 265m. The perimeter is defined by a segmented ditch which encircles the hill by following closely the contour marking 60m above sea level. This alignment is most clearly visible around the northern and north western parts of the circuit, where it is composed of a series of ditches, 10m-15m in length and some 4m in width, separated by 2m-4m wide gaps. This section of the perimeter is flanked both internally and externally by interrupted alignments of dark material, thought to represent the remains of banks formed from upcast material from the ditches. The south eastern arc, which lies towards the base of a more abrupt slope, is less clearly defined due to the effects of ploughing and soil displacement. On the western arc of the perimeter there is an 80m wide gap, or major causeway, which corresponds broadly with the location of a slight spur leading towards the summit of the knoll. Two minor causeways, each less than 10m in width, are visible in the most northerly section of the perimeter separated by a single ditch segment measuring c.30m in length. These smaller entranceways are flanked by slight inward extensions of the ditch terminals. A trackway, orientated north west to south east, passes the foot of the knoll on the north east side and partially converges with the boundary of the causewayed enclosure. A 120m length of this trackway, which is defined by a parallel arrangement of ditches separated by about 8m, is included in the scheduling in order to protect its archaeological relationship with the causewayed enclosure. A bowl barrow is situated within the interior of the causewayed camp, to the south west of the highest point of the knoll. This feature, which is thought to indicate later, Bronze Age reuse of the Neolithic enclosure, comprises a circular mound, approximately 25m in diameter which survives to a height of 1.8m. The surrounding ditch from which material for the mound was quarried has become infilled over the years, although it can be traced as a slight depression around the eastern and southern sides. The barrow, which apparently remains unexcavated, now stands within a small area of woodland covering the summit of the knoll. In the absence of this copse, the barrow would have served as a conspicuous local landmark. Further evidence of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age activity was revealed by fieldwalking surveys conducted in 1979/80 and 1990/1 which identified a distribution of flint tools and manufacturing debris concentrated on the lower ground immediately to the north and north east of the causewayed enclosure (with some examples located within its perimeter). A Neolithic flint arrowhead was discovered on the summit of the knoll in 1970, and various other artefacts including a polished stone axe and a scatter of worked flint were recovered from an adjacent field (to the west of Haverhill Road) during the mid 1960's. The southern side of Little Trees Hill (formerly known as Clunch Pit Hill) has been considerably disturbed by a series of chalk pits excavated during the 19th century. These workings have removed parts of the original profile of the hill together with any archaeological remains which may have been present. The floors of these workings are therefore excluded from the scheduling, although the edges of the pits (which will retain archaeological information) are included. The wooden benches located on the upper slopes of the knoll are excluded from the scheduling together with all fences and fenceposts, 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 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: 24422

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
'Cambridge Archaeology Field Group' in Magog Trust Downland Park, Surface Survey 1990/1, Phase 1, (1992)
'The Cambridge Antiquarian Society' in Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, , Vol. 68, (1978), xiii
C.C.C Archaeology Section, 08903, (1985)
Coles, M, Correspondance with A. Taylor, (1990)
Compilation of photographic evidence, C.C.C Archaeology Section, 1:10,000: Aerial photography information, TL 45 SE,
Compilation of photographic evidence, C.C.C Archaeology Section, 1:10,000: Aerial photography information, TL 45 SE,
CUCAP, ACO 43, (1961)
CUCAP, AKR 8, (1965)
CUCAP, FE 10, (1950)
CUCAP, FE 11, (1950)
CUCAP, RC8-B 133, (1967)
CUCAP, RC8-B 134, (1967)
Ordnance Survey revision notes, Dickson, R, Barrow on Little Trees Hill, (1982)
Palmer, R :identification of site, CW, 05115 Little Trees Hill, (1985)
Record of stray find (1972), 05011, (1985)

End of official listing