Three sections of a linear earthwork south west of New Barn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013771

Date first listed: 10-Mar-1969

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Apr-1996


Ordnance survey map of Three sections of a linear earthwork south west of New Barn
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Avebury

National Grid Reference: SU 10888 71024, SU 11107 71167, SU 11342 71290


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 Early Bronze Age periods. Two of the best known and earliest recognised, with references in the 17th century, are around Avebury and Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a World Heritage Site. In the Avebury area, the henge monument itself, the West Kennet Avenue, the Sanctuary, West Kennet long barrow, Windmill Hill causewayed enclosure and the enigmatic Silbury Hill are well-known. Whilst the other Neolithic long barrows, the many Bronze Age round barrows and other associated sites are less well-known, together they define one of the richest and most varied areas of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and ritual monuments in the country.

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. 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 who 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 three sections of linear boundary south west of New Barn survive well as extant earthworks and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction of the boundary and the landscape in which it was built.


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


The monument, which falls into three separate areas, includes three open linear ditches and associated banks, forming part of a linear boundary situated south west of New Barn. The boundary, which appears to follow the contour on the northern side of a spur, is not continuous, including a series of deliberate breaks. The three sections of ditch are of similar form. They measure c.8m wide and, although partially infilled, are visible as earthworks up to 0.8m deep. The three sections, from east to west, are 65m, 286m and 168m long respectively. They all end in deliberate terminals confirming that the earthwork was not continuous. The north eastern end of the north eastern ditch section is flanked by two slight banks 0.2m high and 0.5m wide. Although now levelled elsewhere, these banks originally ran along the flanks of all the ditch sections. Further sections of this ditch, infilled by arable cultivation in the past, are known from aerial photographs to survive to the north east in the parish of Winterbourne Monkton. The earthwork is mentioned in a charter of AD 939, although it is considered to be prehistoric in date. Excluded from the monument are the boundary fences which cross it from east to west and north to south although the ground beneath 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: 21884

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1957), 251
C/540/1777 F22 074-5, R.A.F., RAF vertical,
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series Source Date: 1991 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SU 17 SW (SMR overlay)
Title: Ordnance Survey 6" Series Source Date: 1960 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Barn shown with earthworks
WILTS 846, Williams, SMW., Sections of ditch E of Avebury Down Barn, (1985)

End of official listing