Field system and bowl barrow on Pitts Down, 500m south east of Pitts Cottages


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016005

Date first listed: 06-Aug-1997


Ordnance survey map of Field system and bowl barrow on Pitts Down, 500m south east of Pitts Cottages
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2018 at 09:56:03.


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

District: Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Calbourne

National Grid Reference: SZ 43018 85795


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

Reasons for Designation

Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) to the end of the fifth century AD. They usually cover areas of up to 100ha and comprise a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction, with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at right angles to one another. Individual fields generally fall within the 0.1ha-3.2ha range and can be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls or reaves, orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses. Component features common to most systems include entrances and trackways, and the settlements or farmsteads from which people utilised the fields over the years have been identified in some cases. These are usually situated close to or within the field system. The development of field systems is seen as a response to the competition for land which began during the later prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for crop production, evidenced by the common occurrence of lynchets resulting from frequent ploughing, although rotation may also have been practised in a mixed farming economy. Regular aggregate field systems occur widely and have been recorded in south western and south eastern England, East Anglia, Cheshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, North and South Yorkshire and Durham. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods of time and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. Those which survive well and/or which can be positively linked to associated settlements are considered to merit protection.

The field system on Pitts Down is a well preserved and visually impressive example of its class which will contain archaeological deposits providing information about past land use, economy and environment. Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. This barrow survives well, and its position within the field system provides evidence for the different ways in which the downland landscape of the Isle of Wight was used in later prehistory.


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


The monument includes an extensive field system, within which lies a bowl barrow, lying on the south and west facing slopes of Pitts Down 500m south east of Pitts Cottage. The fields are based on an extensive system of well defined, regular and substantial cross slope lynchets up to 2.5m in height. These, together with regular down slope banks, form a layout of rectangular fields of varying size. The comparatively large size of some downslope banks suggests that they may incorporate earlier earthwork boundaries. In the southern part of the monument the area of strongly defined fields terminates at a lynchet which runs obliquely across the hill slope. Beyond this, surviving lynchets are less pronounced, the result of either less intensive cultivation or of later erosion by ploughing. A small bowl barrow lies close to the crest of Pitts Down where it has been integrated with the overall layout of the field system. Further barrows may be incorporated within some of the pronounced rounded field corners which are a distinctive feature of this field system. The north western side of the monument is defined by a lynchet which now corresponds with a modern field boundary. Beyond this are further traces of the field system which have been levelled by cultivation and are not included within the scheduling. All fence posts and water troughs are excluded from the scheduling 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 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: 26841

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing