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Prehistoric timber trackways, 670m SSE of Parchey Bridge

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Prehistoric timber trackways, 670m SSE of Parchey Bridge

List entry Number: 1014430

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: Sedgemoor

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Stawell

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 28-Jun-1996

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 27987

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Wooden trackways were constructed in the prehistoric period between the Neolithic and the later pre-Roman Iron Age, primarily as communication routes across wet areas of ground and as a means of access to the natural resources of wetlands. Most excavated examples take the form of simple structures of brushwood or hurdlework, although some are of more complex pile, plank and log construction. Wooden trackways normally had a very short active lifespan, leading to the clustering of tracks where a communications route was in existence over a long period; some isolated examples are, however, recorded. Because they were sited in wetland areas, trackways generally became buried by the accumulation of peat soon after their construction, and they are now generally recorded as a result of peat extraction, followed by survey and excavation elsewhere along their length. Approximately 75 examples of either trackways or groups of trackways have been recorded in England. Because of the way in which they are discovered, this is likely to be only a small proportion of those present in the prehistoric period, and some of the recorded examples will have been destroyed or badly damaged by desiccation of the organic components. Over half the recorded examples are from the Somerset Moors. Trackways yield information concerning woodworking, tools, woodland management, and trading or communication routes. They are usually associated with deposits containing well-preserved environmental data such as pollen, beetle, and macro-plant remains, and they may be significant sources of dendrochronological data. As a rare and diverse form of structure used throughout the prehistoric period, all identified prehistoric wooden trackways with surviving archaeological remains, would normally be considered to be of national importance.

The wooden trackways 670m SSE of Parchey Bridge are a concentration of well preserved organic structures, as yet undated, located within the wetlands of the Somerset Levels and Moors, an area of high archaeological value which has seen rapid landscape change over the past 200 years as a result of drainage and intensive peat cutting.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of sections of a number of prehistoric timber trackways, located at the base of a spur of higher land, Sutton Hams, near Chedzoy.

The tracks were first noted during improvement work to the King's Sedgemoor Back Ditch in the spring of 1979. This ditch runs parallel and east of King's Sedgemoor Drain. There is 40m of land between the two, which rises slightly centrally.

There were seven timber structures noted, (Sutton 1-7). All were visible in both banks of the ditch, except for two which were only noted in the west bank. The tracks all radiated approximately westward from the spur of Sutton Hams.

The tracks were seen obliquely in section. Enough could be seen at the time of the exposure to determine their basic structure. The trackways in the eastern bank were higher than those in the west, following the slope of the land towards the high ground of Sutton Hams.

Sutton 1 consisted of hazel brushwood over spaced transverses. One heavier longitudinal was noted beneath the transverses. Sutton 2 lay below this by 0.12m-0.16m of peat, consisting of hazel brushwood longitudinals secured by three pegs across the width.

Sutton 3 was predominantly of hazel and alder roundwood and brushwood longitudinals, with a split willow log, flat side up, secured by pegs. Sutton 4 was also of brushwood and roundwood, pegged, over more brushwood. It also included a squared oak timber, 0.13m x 0.13m. Sutton 5 was mainly of hazel roundwood, showing axe marks, with brushwood below.

Sutton 6 was seen obliquely, as a mattress of brushwood with roundwood. The main structure was of roundwood and logs, with some transverse timbers. Sutton 6a was thought to join it. Sutton 7 comprised roundwood and brushwood longitudinals which were secured by pegs, and sloped up with the rising ground towards the Sutton Hams spur.

A number of flint and bone artefacts were found in the associated spoil.

Excluded from the scheduling are all modern fences and posts, though the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Norman, C, Clements, C, 'Sutton Hams trackways' in Prehistoric Timber Structures on King's Sedgemoor:Some Recent Ds, , Vol. 123, (1979), 5-18
Other
SMR entries, Wood finds 12125, Chedzoy Moor Drove Rhyne track 10435,

National Grid Reference: ST 35497 37162

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1014430 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 19-Nov-2017 at 01:29:17.

End of official listing