Neolithic causewayed enclosure on Combe Hill

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012497

Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Jun-1991

Map

Ordnance survey map of Neolithic causewayed enclosure on Combe Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: East Sussex

District: Eastbourne (District Authority)

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 57489 02215

Summary

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 the limited disturbance caused by partial excavation, the causewayed enclosure on Combe Hill survives well and holds considerable potential for the recovery of evidence of the nature and duration of its use and of the environment in which it was constructed. As a focus for the siting of later monuments of Bronze Age date, the monument illustrates the long-lasting significance of the sites of causewayed enclosures in the development of the built landscape.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the banks, ditches, causeways and internal area of a Neolithic enclosure situated on a saddle of ground between the two summits of Combe Hill. The monument takes the form of a double circuit of ditch segments of lengths between 10m and 35m, each with an earthen bank on its inner edge and each separated from the next ditch by a causeway of undisturbed chalk. The inner circuit encloses an area of some 1.1 ha. It does not appear to be complete, however, since the slope on the north side is very steep and shows no evidence on the surface of earthworks. The outer ditch survives as earthworks to the east and west of the inner circuit but there is no surface indication of an outer circuit of ditches on the north or south sides where the ground again slopes significantly. The banks survive to a maximum height of 0.8m above ground level, the ditches to a depth of 0.5m below it. Partial excavation in 1949 recovered confirmatory evidence of the Neolithic date of the enclosure in the form of stone tools and pottery.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 12874

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Drewett, P, Rudling, D, Gardner, M, The South East to 1000, (1989)
Musson, C, 'Sussex Arch Collections' in Sussex Arch Collections, , Vol. 89, (1950)

End of official listing