Cursus and bowl barrow 450m south east of Jackson's Barn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020437

Date first listed: 07-Mar-2002


Ordnance survey map of Cursus and bowl barrow 450m south east of Jackson's Barn
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Warwickshire

District: Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)

Parish: Charlecote

National Grid Reference: SP 26771 56464


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

Reasons for Designation

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, but occasionally by a line of closely set pits. The two long sides run roughly parallel and may incorporate earlier monuments of other classes. Access to the interior was restricted to a small number of entranceways, usually near the ends of the long sides. Cursus monuments vary enormously in length, from 250m at the lower end of the range up to 5.6km in the case of the Dorset Cursus. The width is normally in the range 20m to 60m. The greatest variations in the ground plan occur at the terminals, with a variety of both round ended and square ended examples recorded. 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. There are indications re-cutting or extending of the ditches at some sites and the distribution of monuments of later periods often respects cursus monuments demonstrating their continued recognition through time. Taken together, these features indicate construction and use over a long period of time. Cursus monuments have been interpreted in various ways since their initial identification. The name itself is the Latin term for race track and this was one of the functions suggested by Stukeley in the 18th century. More recently a ritual or ceremonial role has been suggested. Of the 40 or so examples recorded nationally, most are widely scattered across central and eastern England, though the distribution extends to northern counties. The majority lie on the flat, well drained gravel terraces of major river valleys, but a number are known on the chalk downlands of Dorset and Wiltshire. As one of the few known classes of Neolithic monument, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all cursus monuments are considered to be nationally important.

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the late Neolithic to the late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400 - 1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen and rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element of the modern landscape, and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provides important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities.

The cursus and bowl barrow 450m south east of Jackson's Barn survive well as a series of buried remains. The buried deposits will preserve evidence relating to the construction and use of the cursus and its relationship with the bowl barrow. The complex will provide valuable information relating to the landscape within which they were originally constructed 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 the buried remains of a cursus and ring ditch, 450m south east of Jackson's Barn, on a gravel terrace north of the River Dene, close to its confluence with the River Avon. The buried remains are visible as cropmarks (areas of enhanced plant growth over buried archaeological features) on aerial photographs.

Two linear cropmarks, aligned north to south, are believed to represent the remains of a cursus, an elongated ditched enclosure of Neolithic date. The linear cropmarks, representing the buried remains of the ditches, lie parallel, about 30m apart, and are visible for a distance of approximately 200m. The former extent of their survival beyond the scheduling is not known.

A sub-circular cropmark representing a ring ditch, lying on the line of the western cursus ditch, is thought to indicate the remains of a bowl barrow. The circular cropmark, measuring approximately 20m in diameter, represents the ditch that enclosed the former mound which is no longer evident. Located centrally within the circular ditch is a roughly circular cropmark, about 8m in width, believed to represent the remains of a burial pit over which the mound would have been raised.

Flint implements, dating chiefly from the Neolithic to the early Bronze Age period, have been found in the area, with a concentration of artefacts noted in the vicinity of the cursus and barrow. Situated on a river terrace, the cursus and barrow are part of a wider landscape of prehistoric and later features recorded along the Avon valley.

All fence posts and telegraph poles 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.


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

Legacy System number: 35051

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Webster, G, Hobley, B, 'The Archaeological Journal' in Aerial Reconnaissance Over the Warwickshire Avon, , Vol. 121, (1964), 1-22
Wise, P J, Bond, E, 'Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society' in A Reassessment of the Flint Implements at HRI, Wellesbourne, , Vol. 97, (1991), 88
Baker, WA, SP 2656/5 frame 48, SP 2656/7 frame 50, (1970)
Baker, WA, SP2656/5 frame 48, SP2656/7 frame 50, (1970)
Jones, C and Gethin, B, Archaeological observation at HRI, Wellesbourne, (1995)
Pickering, J, Warwicks SMR ref: SP2656 I, (1961)
Pickering, J, Warwickshire SMR ref: SP2656 I, (1961)
Warwickshire SMR, WA1141, (1999)
Warwickshire SMR, WA1145, (1999)
Warwickshire SMR, WA6076, (1999)
Warwickshire SMR, WA6272, (1999)
Warwickshire SMR, WA7425, (1999)

End of official listing