Enclosure on Sheep Down 930m south east of Heart Clump


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016912

Date first listed: 08-Aug-1957

Date of most recent amendment: 13-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Enclosure on Sheep Down 930m south east of Heart Clump
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. 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 - 1016912 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 18-Jan-2019 at 19:01:57.


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

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Winterbourne Steepleton

National Grid Reference: SY 60329 88080


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

Reasons for Designation

Small enclosed settlements dating from the Middle Bronze Age are often associated with earlier field systems and are known on some sites to have replaced earlier unenclosed settlements. Enclosures of both sub-rectangular and curvilinear plan are known; the sites are wholly or partly surrounded by a ditch, bank or palisade, or by a combination or succession of all three. Where excavated, sites have usually been found to contain a small group of domestic buildings sufficient for a single or extended family group, although a few larger enclosures are known. Evidence of a succession of buildings has been found on some sites. The buildings are usually circular in plan but occasional rectangular structures are known. Both types of building would have provided a combination of living accommodation and storage or working areas. Storage pits have been recorded inside buildings on some sites but are generally rarely present. In addition to pottery and worked flint, large quantities of burnt stone and metal working debris have been found in some enclosures. Although the precise figure is not known, many small enclosed settlements are located on the chalk downland of southern England. As a class they are integral to understanding Bronze Age settlement and land use strategies, while their often close proximity to the numerous burial monuments in the area will provide insights into the relationship between secular and ceremonial activity during the Middle Bronze Age. A small number of small enclosed settlements survive on downland as visible earthworks; the majority, however, occur in areas of more intensive cultivation and survive in buried form, visible only from the air as soil marks and crop marks. All examples with visible earthworks, and those in buried form which retain significant surviving remains, are considered to be of national importance.

The enclosure on Sheep Down 930m south east of Heart Clump survives well and is known from partial excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The enclosure is likely to have a Late Bronze Age origin and partial excavation suggests that it continued in use over an extended period. The enclosure is likely to have been closely associated with the field system situated to the south west. A second smaller enclosure (which has since been destroyed), lay to the south east and may have performed a complementary role.


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


The monument includes a late prehistoric enclosure situated on the gently sloping north face slope of Sheep Down, overlooking the South Winterborne Valley. The enclosure, which is sub-rectangular in plan, has a slightly raised interior with dimensions of 45m by 25m, enclosed by a bank 3.5m wide and about 0.45m high, with an outer ditch 4m wide and about 0.5m deep. There are indications of an outer bank 3m wide and 0.2m high along the northern and southern sides. A single entrance situated in the centre of the eastern side includes a gap in the bank 5m wide and a ramp across the ditch 3m wide. Partial excavations conducted by W Putnam in 1970 found the banks to be constructed of turf with a gravel core derived from the ditch. The ditch was `V'-shaped in section, with dimensions of 4m wide at the top and 2m wide at the base. The entrance was associated with a pair of post holes which may mark the position of a pair of gates. The enclosure has rounded corners and, following the excavation, Putnam suggested that the site represented a Roman military fort built around the period of the Roman conquest and which may have served a signalling function. However, the enclosure is not of a typical Roman form and there are traces of internal subdivisions which are unlikely to be consistent with those of a Roman fort. No structural foundations were identified, although finds included a range of pottery dating from the Late Bronze Age to the later Romano-British period. This wide range of pottery from the site and the form of the enclosure would suggest a prehistoric origin (most probably during the later Bronze Age), with its use continuing over many centuries. It is likely that the enclosure was associated with the field system situated on the steep slopes of the valley to the south west. This is the subject of a separate scheduling. All fence posts relating to modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling, 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: 29097

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 508
Putnam, W G, 'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Interim report on Excavations at Black Down, , Vol. 92, (1970), 140-141

End of official listing