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Causewayed enclosure and associated features on the south bank of the River Thames, immediately west of Rushey Weir

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Causewayed enclosure and associated features on the south bank of the River Thames, immediately west of Rushey Weir

List entry Number: 1021368

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Oxfordshire

District: Vale of White Horse

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Buckland

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 26-Nov-2004

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 35543

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Between 50 and 70 causewayed enclosures are recorded nationally, mainly in southern and eastern England. They were constructed over a period of some 500 years during the middle part of the Neolithic period (c.3000-2400 BC) but also continued in use into later periods. They vary considerably in size (from 0.8ha to 28ha) and were apparently used for a variety of functions, including settlement, defence, and ceremonial and funerary purposes. However, all comprise a roughly circular to ovoid area bounded by one or more concentric rings of banks and ditches. The ditches, from which the monument class derives its name, were formed of a series of elongated pits punctuated by unexcavated causeways. Causewayed enclosures are amongst the earliest field monuments to survive as recognisable features in the modern landscape and are one of the few known Neolithic monument types. Due to their rarity, their wide diversity of plan, and their considerable age, all causewayed enclosures are considered to be nationally important.

Although the banks of the causewayed enclosure immediately west of Rushey Weir have been levelled by ploughing, the ditches survive well. The location of the monument on low lying land beside the River Thames suggests that they may contain well preserved waterlogged organic deposits, material that will provide evidence of the nature of the surrounding landscape, and of the uses made of the enclosure during its lifetime. The enclosure has additional significance because of its association with a long mortuary enclosure and barrow, and because it is one of a group of causewayed enclosures associated with the Upper Thames and its tributaries.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the buried remains of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure, as well as several features representative of other periods: these include pits, ring ditches and a ditched trackway, all of which are clearly visible from the air as crop marks. The site lies immediately south of the River Thames, by Rushey Weir and Lock. The enclosure, which can be seen to measure approximately 225m across at its widest point, forms a D-shape or rough semi-circle against the river bank. It consists of segments of ditch about 4m wide, varying in length between 7m and 26m and separated by causeways 1m to 7m wide. The north west end of the enclosure is hidden beneath rough pasture, and its extent here can only be surmised. A section of the boundary ditches to the south and about half the interior are also partially concealed by a large amorphous crop mark. The area of the interior beyond this is dotted with pits which may be contemporary with the enclosure or possibly natural features. This crop mark also masks a section of two small sub-circular single ditched features, one just outside the enclosure to the south, the other within the eastern sector of the interior. Both measure between 15m and 20m in diameter; but the larger circle, attached to the southern edge of the enclosure, has the wider ditch, measuring about 3m to 4m across. Immediately to the west of this circle two ditched trackways can be seen intersecting at right angles, one taking a north-south route, the other heading east-west. This tracked junction is included in the scheduling. The southerly route can be seen crossing the next field, and its ditches appear again as a cropmark three fields, or about 400m, to the south; the form of these tracks suggests a Roman date. A further linear feature which has the appearance of a bank and ditch cuts across the north east end of the enclosure, running parallel with the river bank before taking a sharp turn south: this appears to be the continuation of a drain which survives as a slight bank in the pasture field to the west. This causewayed enclosure is one of six known in Oxfordshire, only one of which, at Abingdon, has been extensively excavated. These are part of a larger group of possibly twelve associated with the Upper Thames and its tributaries. Its closest neighbour is north of the river at Aston, and is also scheduled (SM28185); their proximity to each other either side of what may have been a major boundary suggests that they could have served separate tribal communities. Closely associated with the causewayed enclosure is another smaller, sub-rectangular feature identified with a class of monuments known as long mortuary enclosures. This lies about 70m south east of the causewayed enclosure and can be seen as a cropmark in the neighbouring field. No apparent physical features link them, and the long mortuary enclosure is the subject of a separate scheduling. However, although other uses have also been suggested for causewayed enclosures, human remains commonly found in their ditches along with quantities of other organic matter, strongly suggest that they were also used for rituals and celebrations associated with the disposal of the dead. It may be that these two very different forms of enclosure played a complementary role, or that one is later than the other, and took on its functions.

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

Selected Sources

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

National Grid Reference: SP 32127 00040

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Nov-2017 at 05:48:17.

End of official listing