Banjo enclosure 480m south west of Cheldene

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017363

Date first listed: 10-Jan-2000

Map

Ordnance survey map of Banjo enclosure 480m south west of Cheldene
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Location

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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Aldbourne

National Grid Reference: SU 21701 75378

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Banjo enclosure is the term used by archaeologists for a distinctive type of prehistoric settlement. They were mostly constructed and used during the Middle Iron Age (400-100 BC), although some remained in use up to the time of the Roman Conquest (AD 43). Typical banjo enclosures have an oval or sub- rectangular central area, rarely greater than 0.4ha in size, encircled by a broad, steep-sided ditch and an external bank. There is characteristically a single entrance, approached by an avenue up to 90m long formed by out-turnings of the enclosure's ditch. The entrance to the avenue sometimes has further `antennae' ditches, giving a funnel-like appearance; or it may be connected to a transverse linear ditch. The enclosures resemble banjos when viewed in plan, hence their name. Excavated banjo enclosures have been found to contain evidence of habitation, evidence for wooden structures provided by post holes and drainage gullies, and storage and refuse pits. These features, together with the ditches, generally contain abundant artefacts, and can provide environmental evidence illustrating the landscape in which the monument was set, and the economy of its inhabitants. The enclosures are often associated with other types of Iron Age monuments, including other enclosures, field systems, trackways and other unenclosed settlement forms. Together, these monument types provide information concerning the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. Banjo enclosures are largely known from cropmarks and soilmarks recorded from the air, although a few survive as earthworks. Over 200 examples are recorded nationally, the majority of which are located in Wessex and around the upper Thames Valley: particular concentrations have been noted on the chalk downland of Hampshire. Elsewhere they are very rare, with isolated examples recorded in the Midlands and the north. The existence of further examples is likely to be confirmed by aerial photographic survey. Examples with significant surviving remains are considered worthy of protection, as are those representing the range of known types.

Despite having been disturbed by ploughing, the banjo enclosure 480m south west of Cheldene represents a rare survival in Wiltshire. It will contain environmental evidence relating to the monument, the landscape in which it was constructed and the nature of the localised agricultural economy with which it was associated.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the buried remains of a banjo enclosure situated 480m south west of Cheldene on a chalk plateau which forms the western extremity of Aldbourne Chase.

The enclosure is no longer visible on the ground and the details of its form have been derived from cropmarks visible on aerial photographs and from measured surveys produced prior to the commencement of ploughing in the 1970s. The enclosure originally consisted of a ditch enclosing an elliptical platform with faint traces of an external bank. The enclosure had a maximum external diameter of 64m north west to south east and was joined on its western side by a sunken trackway which extended on an east to west axis for approximately 50m before continuing across the valley immediately to the west for at least a further 1km on a series of different alignments. Much of this trackway has been levelled by cultivation and is no longer visible, even on aerial photographs. Only the first 50m length actually abutting the enclosure, which is still visible on aerial photographs, is included in the scheduling.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 30285

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), p.261
Other
Ordnance Survey, SU 27 NW 26, (1973)
Wiltshire County Council, 1:10000, (1991)
Wiltshire County Council, SU 27 NW 647,

End of official listing