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Ring ditches and enclosures 500yds (450m) ESE of College Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Acol, Kent

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Latitude: 51.3624 / 51°21'44"N

Longitude: 1.302 / 1°18'7"E

OS Eastings: 629962.542443

OS Northings: 167769.218835

OS Grid: TR299677

Mapcode National: GBR X02.D0R

Mapcode Global: VHLGC.J05X

Entry Name: Ring ditches and enclosures 500yds (450m) ESE of College Farm

Scheduled Date: 20 August 1974

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005489

English Heritage Legacy ID: KE 259

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Acol

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent


Ring ditches, curvilinear ditches and enclosures, 490m east of College Farmhouse

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 June 2014. The 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.

The monument includes ring ditches, curvilinear ditches and enclosures surviving as buried remains. It is situated on a south-west facing slope of chalk downland, north-west of Acol.

The features, which have been recorded as crop marks, represent the surviving ditches of round barrows, a prehistoric farmstead and boundary features. There are seven small ring ditches, the surviving ditches of the barrows, varying between about 7m and 11m in diameter and seven large ring ditches varying between about 14m and 39m in diameter. At the south-east corner of the site is a rectilinear enclosure of a prehistoric farmstead, delineated by a buried ditch visible as a crop mark. The enclosure is orientated WNW to ESE and is about 46m long by 35m wide. There is an apparent entrance, evident by a break in the ditch, in the eastern side. In addition a number of linear and curvilinear boundary ditches run broadly north-west to south-east and north-east to south-west and at the western edge of the site is a curvilnear enclosure about 20m in diameter. There is a 10m break in the ditch on the north side.

The site was recorded as part of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) Kent Mapping Project carried out in 1986-7. This produced 1:10,000 scale depictions of crop marks identified on oblique and vertical aerial photographs taken across Kent.

Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity of this site but are not included because they have not been formally assessed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The ring ditches, curvilinear ditches and enclosures 490m east of College Farmhouse are thought to represent the buried remains of a Bronze Age barrow cemetery, Anglo-Saxon barrow field, a prehistoric enclosed farmstead and associated management of the landscape. On modern arable sites, where cultivation has taken place, the earthworks of archaeological monuments are sometimes levelled or the ditches in-filled and can instead be identified as crop and soil marks. These occur due to differential crop growth (crop marks) or differences in soil colour (soil marks) as a result of buried archaeological features. Where these have been excavated, they are often shown to contain significant archaeological remains and deposits surviving below the modern ground level.

Bronze Age round barrow cemeteries comprise closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed.
Barrow fields are groups of between five and 300 closely-spaced hlaews, or burial mounds, dating to the early medieval period. The usually circular mounds, some of which are surrounded by an encircling ditch, were constructed of earth and rubble and covered one or more inhumation burials. These were deposited in west-east aligned, rectangular graves cut into the underlying bedrock. Cremation burials, sometimes deposited in pottery urns, have also been found. Many burials were furnished with accompanying grave goods, including jewellery and weapons.
Prehistoric enclosed farmsteads are generally represented by curvilinear 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 prehistoric farmsteads are situated in areas which are now under intensive arable cultivation. As a result the majority have been recorded as crop- and soil-marks appearing on aerial photographs.

The prehistoric boundary features, defined by linear and curvilinear ditches, may represent the remains of field boundaries, property divisions or wider territorial boundaries. They form a component of the site, alongside the ring ditches and enclosures, which enhances our understanding of prehistoric land use in this part of Kent.

Despite having been ploughed in the past, the ring ditches, curvilinear ditches and enclosures 490m east of College Farmhouse survive well as visible crop marks. The site has not been excavated and will retain potential for further archaeological investigation. It will contain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the prehistoric occupation and management of the landscape in this part of Kent and to the prehistoric landscape itself.

Source: Historic England


Kent HER TW36NW46, TR36NW203, TR36NW161. NMR TW36NW46, TR36NW203, TR36NW161. PastScape 469250, 469412, 469371


Source: Historic England

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