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Long mortuary enclosure on Tennyson Down, 800m west of Freshwater Bay House

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: Long mortuary enclosure on Tennyson Down, 800m west of Freshwater Bay House

List entry Number: 1015623

Location

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

County:

District: Isle of Wight

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Freshwater

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 07-Apr-1997

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: 22067

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

Long mortuary enclosures are oblong-shaped enclosures up to 150m in length, surrounded by narrow, fairly straight ditches with slightly rounded corners, containing an open space edged by a perimeter bank set within the ditch. Characteristically there are two or more major causeways across the ditch which served as entrances. Most long mortuary enclosures are orientated within 45 degrees of an east-west alignment. Long mortuary enclosures are generally associated with human burials dated to the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (c.3200-2500 BC). There are approximately 35 examples recorded in England. The greatest concentration lies in Essex and Suffolk, but there are also examples along the Thames and in Warwickshire along the Avon; two isolated examples have been recorded in Northumberland. Long mortuary enclosures are very rare nationally and all surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The long mortuary enclosure on Tennyson Down on the Isle of Wight survives well, and is known from limited excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. This mortuary enclosure is the only recorded example of its class on the Isle of Wight, and is the most southerly example recorded in Britain.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a long mortuary enclosure on an east facing hillside overlooking the sea on the south west coast of the Isle of Wight. The mortuary enclosure, seen as an oval earthwork aligned east-west, has a central area 24m east-west and 9m north-south. Surrounding this area is a bank 5m wide and 0.25m high, when measured from inside the enclosure, with a gap 2.5m wide on the east side. Surrounding the internal bank on its east, west and south sides, is a ditch 4m wide and 0.4m deep. The height from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the bank is 0.5m, and there is a gap in the ditch on the east side corresponding to the gap in the internal bank. On the north side of the monument the ditch appears as an extended shallow pit which blends into the contours of the hillside with no obvious north edge. In 1989 Mr F Basford recut and examined a section revealed by a World War II trench bisecting the monument. A sample of wood charcoal sieved from the primary infill of the flanking ditch of the monument gave a radiocarbon date of 3980 +/- 70 years BP. This date calibrates to approximately 2865 to 2290 cal BC.

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.

Selected Sources

Other
OxA 3076 Date list, RadioCarbon, (1992)

National Grid Reference: SZ 33627 85568

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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 - 1015623 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 19-Jun-2018 at 03:43:10.

End of official listing