Ancient Monuments

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Iron Age banjo enclosure, associated enclosure and linear features, 323m south-west of South Tadworth Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Tattenhams, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.2996 / 51°17'58"N

Longitude: -0.2437 / 0°14'37"W

OS Eastings: 522538.762458

OS Northings: 157068.862168

OS Grid: TQ225570

Mapcode National: GBR B0.WS5

Mapcode Global: VHGRW.QLJM

Entry Name: Iron Age banjo enclosure, associated enclosure and linear features, 323m south-west of South Tadworth Farm

Scheduled Date: 5 May 1978

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005925

English Heritage Legacy ID: SU 167

County: Surrey

Electoral Ward/Division: Tattenhams

Built-Up Area: Ewell

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Tadworth The Good Shepherd

Church of England Diocese: Southwark


The monument includes an Iron Age banjo enclosure, an associated enclosure and linear features situated on a western slope of the Walton Downs. The banjo enclosure is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs and survives as a buried archaeological feature. It is denoted by a ditch about 0.9m wide, which encloses an area approximately 70m in diameter. The enclosure is sub-circular in shape with an entrance on the south-west side defined by a ditched avenue up to about 100m long. Adjoining the main enclosure to the north-east is a smaller circular annexe, denoted by a ditch. Within the interior of this enclosure is a pit, which may be the site of a dwelling. There are several associated linear features to the east.
Geophysical survey was carried out on the site in 1977.
The monument excludes all modern fences and fence posts but the ground beneath these features is included.

Sources: Surrey HER 3194. NMR TQ25NW45. PastScape 400248.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Banjo enclosure is the term used by archaeologists for a distinctive type of prehistoric settlement. They were mostly constructed and used during the Middle Iron Age (400-100 BC), although some remained in use up to the time of the Roman Conquest (AD 43). Typical banjo enclosures have an oval or sub-rectangular central area, rarely greater than 0.4ha in size, encircled by a broad, steep-sided ditch and an external bank. There is characteristically a single entrance, approached by an avenue up to 90m long formed by out-turnings of the enclosure's ditch. The entrance to the avenue sometimes has further 'antennae' ditches, giving a funnel-like appearance; or it may be connected to a transverse linear ditch. The enclosures resemble banjos when viewed in plan, hence their name. Excavated banjo enclosures have been found to contain evidence of habitation, evidence for wooden structures provided by post holes and drainage gullies, and storage and refuse pits. These features, together with the ditches, generally contain abundant artefacts, and can provide environmental evidence illustrating the landscape in which the monument was set, and the economy of its inhabitants. The enclosures are often associated with other types of Iron Age monuments, including other enclosures, field systems, trackways and other unenclosed settlement forms. Together, these monument types provide information concerning the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. Banjo enclosures are largely known from cropmarks and soilmarks recorded from the air, although a few survive as earthworks. Over 200 examples are recorded nationally, the majority of which are located in Wessex and around the upper Thames Valley: particular concentrations have been noted on the chalk downland of Hampshire. Elsewhere they are very rare, with isolated examples recorded in the Midlands and the north. The existence of further examples is likely to be confirmed by aerial photographic survey. Examples with significant surviving remains are considered worthy of protection, as are those representing the range of known types.
The Iron Age banjo enclosure, 323m south-west of South Tadworth Farm is a rare surviving example of a banjo enclosure with an associated enclosure and linear features. The site has not been excavated and will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the enclosure and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England

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