Ancient Monuments

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Enclosed Iron Age farmstead and part of an associated field system 215m west of New Barn

A Scheduled Monument in Maiden Newton, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.7868 / 50°47'12"N

Longitude: -2.5549 / 2°33'17"W

OS Eastings: 360977.015257

OS Northings: 98722.915092

OS Grid: SY609987

Mapcode National: GBR MS.ZNJC

Mapcode Global: FRA 57J0.JGK

Entry Name: Enclosed Iron Age farmstead and part of an associated field system 215m west of New Barn

Scheduled Date: 3 January 1961

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002859

English Heritage Legacy ID: DO 479

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Maiden Newton

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Maiden Newton and Valleys

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument, which falls into two areas of protection, includes an enclosed Iron Age farmstead and part of its associated field system, situated on the upper eastern slopes of the dry valley of Combe Bottom and extending onto the summit of a ridge overlooking the dry valley of Plain Bottom. The enclosed farmstead survives as a roughly rectangular enclosure with a possible outwork to the south defined by banks of approximately 4.5m wide and 0.4m high with partially-buried external ditches. The western corner has been cut by the construction of a later pond. Within the interior of the enclosure are at least six roughly-circular depressions thought to represent house platforms. Small scale trial excavations in this settlement produced flint rubble flooring and a quantity of Iron Age or Romano-British pottery sherds. The settlement is also cut by a track. Predominantly to the north and west is part of the associated field system, containing hollowed trackways which seem to converge at the enclosed farmstead. The field system is defined by low banks of up to 0.6m high and pronounced lynchets of up to 1.6m high forming rectilinear fields which measure approximately 95m long by 80m wide on average. Several of the fields also contain characteristic medieval ridge and furrow showing cultivation of this area has been prolonged.
The surface of the crossing track (Drift Road) is excluded from the monument but the ground beneath is included.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-453063

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Enclosed Iron Age farmsteads are generally represented by enclosures containing evidence of a small group of circular domestic buildings and associated agricultural structures. Where excavated, these sites are also found to contain pits or rectangular post- built structures for the storage of grain and other produce, evidence of an organised and efficient farming system. The surrounding enclosures would have provided protection against cattle rustling and tribal raiding. In central and southern England, most enclosed Iron Age farmsteads are situated in areas which are now under intensive arable cultivation. As a result, although some examples survive with upstanding earthworks, the majority have been recorded as crop- and soil-marks appearing on aerial photographs. The associated field system is typical of the period from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) to the end of the fifth century AD and comprises a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction, with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at right angles to one another. Individual fields in field systems of this type generally fall within the 0.1ha-3.2ha range and can be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls, orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses. Component features common to most systems include entrances and trackways. The settlements or farmsteads are usually situated close to or within the field system. The development of field systems is seen as a response to the competition for land which began during the later prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for crop production, evidenced by the common occurrence of lynchets resulting from frequent ploughing, although rotation may also have been practised in a mixed farming economy. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods of time and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. The enclosed Iron Age farmstead and part of an associated field system 215m west of New Barn also bears witness to continued cultivation during the medieval period and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, agricultural practices through time, social organisation, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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