Ancient Monuments

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Combe Ditch, linear dyke

A Scheduled Monument in Charlton Marshall, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.8051 / 50°48'18"N

Longitude: -2.1823 / 2°10'56"W

OS Eastings: 387252.5195

OS Northings: 100629.2676

OS Grid: ST872006

Mapcode National: GBR 201.F3M

Mapcode Global: FRA 669Y.ZMB

Entry Name: Combe Ditch, linear dyke

Scheduled Date: 23 June 1976

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002400

English Heritage Legacy ID: DO 764

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Charlton Marshall

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Charlton Marshall St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


Part of the prehistoric linear boundary called Combe or Combs Ditch.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 February 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument, which falls into four separate areas, includes a prehistoric linear boundary which was adaptively re-used during the Late Roman and early medieval periods and is situated on the summit of a broad ridge through undulating down land between the River Stour and South Winterborne. The boundary survives differentially through its considerable length as a bank with its associated ditch which in places also has a berm and counterscarp bank. The bank varies in width from 5.4m up to 8.5m and from 0.4m up to 1.3m high and the ditch is from 4.8m up to 8.5m wide and averages 0.9m deep. Excavations in 1965 indicated the linear boundary had its origins as an Iron Age work associated with agricultural activities which became more heavily defensive during the late Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods with the addition of more pronounced earthworks.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances which vary from less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been reused later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. The adaptive re-use of the part of the prehistoric linear boundary called Combs Ditch indicates its continued significance as a boundary feature over a considerable period of time. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, adaptive re-use, alterations in construction techniques, social organisation of the builders and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape 205716

Source: Historic England

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