Causewayed enclosure and settlement enclosures immediately north west of Shire Gate
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1016631
Date first listed: 07-Jul-1999
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Cotswold (District Authority)
District: West Oxfordshire (District Authority)
Parish: Filkins and Broughton Poggs
National Grid Reference: SP 21495 04713
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.
Iron Age and Romano-British rectilinear settlement enclosures are formed by groups of farmsteads and houses often individually enclosed, along with associated structures such as wells, storage pits, corn-drying ovens and granary stores. The enclosures are surrounded by ditches and are associated with pits, stock enclosures, ditches and field systems. Most settlements of this type in the Upper Thames Valley have been located through the analysis of aerial photographs. They survive in the form of buried features, usually appearing as crop or soil marks and occasionally as low earthworks. As a representative form of rural settlement they provide important evidence of landuse and agricultural practices in the later Iron Age and Romano-British period and all examples which have significant surviving remains will merit protection.
The rectilinear settlement enclosures abutting the causewayed enclosure at Shire Gate provide good examples of this type of rural settlement, and preservation of below ground deposits is likely to be good. The site has a range of features including enclosures, ditches, hut circles and elements of the field system which will provide valuable information on the contemporary economy of the surrounding countryside.
The monument includes a curvilinear and roughly symmetrical causewayed
enclosure and two associated settlement enclosures, one with a northern annex,
immediately north west of Shire Gate on a slight ESE slope. The monument is
not visible on the ground, having been reduced by ploughing over time, but is
visible as a cropmark caused by different rates of crop growth and ripening
over archaeological features.
The causewayed enclosure comprises four roughly circular ditches, each cut at regular intervals, measuring between 1m and 8m wide. The outer enclosure is 230m in diameter whilst the innermost ditch encloses an area 125m by 85m in size. The south west and north east sides of all four enclosure ditches are concave. This is more pronounced in the two inner enclosures. The four ditches are located in two pairs, the outer pair being 15m to 20m apart and the inner pair only 6m to 8m apart.
The monument also includes a later rectangular ditched enclosure immediately to the west of the causewayed enclosure. This rectangular enclosure is 120m long and measures between 34m and 50m wide. It contains two hut circles of 14m and 18m diameter and a shallow depression. A rectilinear annex abuts the northern side of the rectangular enclosure. It has an entrance on the western side and internal divisions forming a smaller internal enclosure, also with a western entrance.
There is a further rectilinear ditched settlement enclosure to the south west of the causewayed enclosure. This is a rectilinear system of small enclosures or paddocks with fragments of larger enclosures to the south. Three hut circles measuring 18m, 14m and 3m in diameter are present within the small enclosures.
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: 31433
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Oxford Archaeological Unit, , 'Oxford Archaeological Unit Newsletter' in Eastleach, , Vol. 9 No 4, (1982), 7
Palmer, R, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Interrupted Ditch Enclosures in Britain, , Vol. 42, (1976), 161-186
Interpreted by Ms V Fenner, RCHME APU, Thames Valley National Mapping Programme, (1993)
Interpreted by Ms V Fenner, RCHME APU, Thames Valley National Mapping Programme, (1995)
Interpreted by Ms V Fenner, RCHME APU, Thames Valley National Mapping Project, (1995)
NMR, MOD, OS, CUCAP, Engineering Surveys, 43 Oblique and 7 vertical air photos 1946-1990,
NMR, NMR Monument Detail, (1993)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 SP 20 SW (NMP overlay) Source Date: 1993 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing