Caer-Din Ring: a small enclosed Iron Age or Romano-British settlement, an adjacent ancient field boundary, round barrow and cultivation remains
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1021280
Date first listed: 30-Sep-1936
Date of most recent amendment: 22-Jun-2004
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish: Newcastle on Clun
National Grid Reference: SO 24026 85031
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Reasons for Designation
During the Iron Age and Roman period a variety of settlement types were
constructed throughout Britain. Small enclosed settlements consist of discrete
areas of occupation, bounded largely or wholly by continuous single or
concentric ditches, banks or walls, and palisades. The size of these
curvilinear or rectilinear enclosures is generally less than 2ha. They were
occupied by a small community, perhaps a single family or several related
family groups. In their original form the enclosures contained a single main
domestic building, or several clusters of domestic buildings. These structures
are normally circular and are often associated with rectangular buildings used
for the storage of agricultural produce. Small enclosed settlements became
common features in the landscape during the second half of the first
millennium BC and throughout the Roman period. They were the dwelling places
of people engaged in small-scale farming and craft production. Considerable
numbers of small enclosed settlements are known, but most have been levelled
by ploughing. All small enclosed settlements where earthwork or standing
structural remains survive are considered to be of national importance.
The small enclosed Iron Age or Romano-British settlement known as Caer-Din Ring is a fine example of this class of monument. Its significance is greatly enhanced by its association with a well-preserved contemporary field boundary. The survival within the enclosure of building platforms as earthworks indicates that the buried remains of structures and associated deposits will survive well. These deposits will contain organic remains and a range of contemporary artefacts, which will provide valuable insights into the activities and lifestyles of the inhabitants. This information could be used with the evidence from other nearby contemporary settlements to provide a comprehensive picture of life in this region during the Iron Age and Roman period. The earthworks forming the enclosure of Caer-Din Ring and the associated field boundary will retain evidence about the nature of their construction. In addition, organic remains surviving in the buried ground surfaces beneath these banks and within the ditches will provide information about the local environment and the past use of the surrounding land. The remains of ridge and furrow cultivation adjacent to an ancient field boundary provide additional evidence about the changing nature of farming practice in this area.
Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500BC. They were constructed as earthen mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as the focus of burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices.
Despite some excavation of the barrow mound, the round barrow east of Caer- Din Ring is a good example of this class of monument. Like the later field boundary and the earthworks which define the settlement, the barrow will retain evidence of its construction, together with organic remains which will provide information about the environment and land use in the vicinity. The barrow mound is also likely to contain evidence of the burial or burials placed within it. These remains will add to our knowledge and understanding of Bronze Age funerary practices in this area. The location of the enclosed settlement and the associated field boundary in relation to the barrow indicates that the barrow continued to act as an important landscape feature during this later period.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a small enclosed
Iron Age or Romano-British settlement known as Caer-Din Ring, the earthwork
and buried remains of an ancient field boundary and round barrow, together
with remains of ridge and furrow cultivation.
The enclosed settlement occupies a commanding position on the summit of a hill overlooking the Folly Brook valley to the west. From this location there are extensive views in every direction. Other broadly contemporary small enclosed settlements in the vicinity include examples on Fron, 2.5km to south east, on Castle Idris, 2.6km to the south, and near Cwm Farm, 2km to the north east. All these settlements are the subject of separate schedulings.
Caer-Din Ring is sub-rectangular in plan. Its overall dimensions are approximately 114m east-west by 122m north-south, and its internal area is about 0.85ha. The earthworks which define the interior of the settlement consist of a bank, constructed of earth and stone, and an external ditch. The bank is between 6m and 9.5m wide, and stands up to 1.8m high. The width of the ditch is between 3m and 4.5m, and along part of the outer edge on the north western side its steep rock-cut face is still plainly visible. The original entranceway into the settlement is on the eastern side and is 4m wide. A smaller entranceway at the north west corner of the enclosure appears to be a later feature. Within the interior there are a series of level platforms, some of which are partially cut into the gently sloping ground. These platforms provided level areas for the construction of houses and ancillary buildings.
Down the slope, between 55m and 65m to the east of the settlement, is an ancient field boundary, comprising a bank about 4.5m wide and 1.5m high, and an external ditch between 3m and 4m wide. The bank is of earth and stone construction, and appears to have been built in a series of short straight lengths. There is an original break in this boundary towards its southern end, where there is a 10m wide causeway across the ditch and a corresponding gap in the bank. The southern part of this boundary closely follows the alignment of the eastern side of the enclosed settlement. Its course then changes and heads in a north westerly direction. The northern part of the boundary has been levelled by ploughing. However, aerial photographs indicate that the infilled ditch survives well as a buried feature, and it is therefore included in the scheduling. The known extent of this boundary is approximately 450m.
The original break in the boundary lies directly opposite the original entrance into the enclosed settlement. Running in a slight curve between the entranceway into the enclosure and the break in the field boundary is a shallow depression nearly 60m long, about 8m wide and 0.3m deep. This linear depression, or hollow way, has been caused by the passage of people, animals and vehicles over a long time. The position of the field boundary in relation to the settlement enclosure, and the presence of the hollow way, which connects them both, suggest that the settlement and the field boundary are contemporary.
Virtually opposite the break in the field boundary, about 30m to the east, are the remains of a Bronze Age round barrow. The barrow mound was built with earth and stone. It is roughly circular, about 8m in diameter, and stands to a height of 0.5m. There is a depression in the centre of the mound, which looks like an old excavation trench. There are, however, no records of any such investigation having been conducted. Although no longer visible at ground level, a ditch, from which material was quarried to construct the monument, surrounds the mound. This has become infilled over the years and survives as a buried feature, approximately 3m wide.
To the east of the northern part of the ancient field boundary, and running parallel with it, are the remains of ridge and furrow cultivation. This cultivation system is clearly later than the field boundary as it partly extends into the boundary ditch. The width of these ridges, between 5m and 7m, indicate that they were probably formed during the medieval period. A shallow ditch, up to 5m wide, runs south east from the point where the ancient boundary changes to a southerly direction. It would appear that this ditch acted as a boundary for the cultivation system and is likely to be contemporary with it. A 250m long sample of this cultivation system, which includes a 100m length of the associated ditch, is included in the scheduling in order to preserve their relationship with the earlier field boundary.
All fence posts 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: 34948
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Guilbert, G, 'Archaeologia Cambrensis' in Caer-Din Ring, Salop, , Vol. 75, (1976), 165-69
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