Prehistoric pit alignments and associated features 160m north of The Barbellows


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020034

Date first listed: 05-Mar-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 09-May-2001


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric pit alignments and associated features 160m north of The Barbellows
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Oct-2018 at 01:12:38.


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

County: Warwickshire

District: Rugby (District Authority)

Parish: Ryton-on-Dunsmore

National Grid Reference: SP 40325 74304


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

Reasons for Designation

A pit alignment is a linear arrangement of fairly closely spaced pits which vary in shape from round, through oval, to rectangular. Nearly all pit alignments have been discovered by aerial photography and sometimes occur as part of a more complex linear earthwork including linear ditches, slots, palisades and linear banks. Pit alignments are among a fairly wide range of monuments of later prehistoric date and although little is known about their function and significance, they are believed to be related to division of the agricultural and political landscape. Linear boundaries are of considerable importance for the analysis of land use in the later prehistoric period; all well preserved samples will normally merit statutory protection.

A cursus is an elongated rectilinear earthwork, the length of which is normally greater than 250m and more than ten times its width. The sides are usually defined by a bank and external ditch. The two long sides run roughly parallel and may incorporate earlier monuments of other classes. Dateable finds from cursus monuments are few. Early Neolithic pottery has been found in the primary fill of some ditches, but there is also evidence of construction in the late Neolithic period. A ritual or ceremonial role has been suggested. As one of the the few known classes of Neolithic monument, due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and longevity as a monument type, all cursus monuments are considered to be nationally important.

The pit alignments and associated features 160m north of The Barbellows survive well as a series of buried remains. Limited archaeological excavation of part of the monument has demonstrated good survival of the pits and established the presence of buried remains associated with the pit alignment and provided dating evidence for the complex. The pit alignments and associated features will preserve valuable information relating to the landscape within which they were originally created, and will contribute to our understanding of land use in prehistoric society.


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


The monument includes prehistoric pit alignments and associated cropmark features located approximately 160m north of The Barbellows. Two pit alignments, visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs, are aligned approximately south east-north west and north east-south west. The north east-south west alignment measures approximately 170m in length and the south east-north west alignment is visible for a distance of about 160m. The two alignments appear to intersect at their northern ends.

Limited archaeological excavation in 1998 confirmed the presence of buried archaeological features, locating one of the pits in the south east-north west alignment. This was found to be an oval, steep-sided pit, 0.4m deep. Two gullies were also revealed, associated with the pit alignment. One, on roughly the same alignment as the pits, included early to middle Iron Age pottery. The other gully was aligned approximately east-west. The investigation established the presence of additional archaeological features not visible on aerial photographs, indicating that further buried remains may survive in association with the pit alignments.

Two roughly parallel linear cropmarks, aligned approximately south east-north west, lie between the two pit alignments. The linear cropmarks, visible for a distance of approximately 90m and lying about 20m apart, have been interpreted as part of a cursus, an elongated ditched enclosure of Neolithic date. Further cropmarks, of possible prehistoric date, including a part of a subrectangular enclosure, are visible to the south of the intersection of the two pit alignments.

Faint cropmarks indicate that the north east-south west pit alignment formerly extended further in both directions and the south east-north west alignment appeared to extend for a short distance to the north west. However, the level of survival of these parts of the alignments is unknown and they are therefore are not included in the scheduling.

All fence posts, telegraph poles and the shed are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 33149

Legacy System: RSM


Baker, A, 2312, 2313, 2314, 2315, (1962)
CUCAP, AFX27, (1962)
CUCAP, ZV29, (1959)
WA3426, (1999)
WA3961, (1999)
WA4280, (1999)
Warwickshire County Council Heritage, Archaeological evaluation at Barbellows Farm, Ryton on Dunsmore, (1998)
Warwickshire County Council Museum, Archaeological observation at Barbellows Farm, Wolston Grounds, (1993)

End of official listing