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A Springfield style enclosure, a group of associated prehistoric pits and ditches and an oval barrow 1km NNE of Langdon Abbey

A Scheduled Monument in Langdon, Kent

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Latitude: 51.183 / 51°10'58"N

Longitude: 1.3311 / 1°19'51"E

OS Eastings: 632895.751893

OS Northings: 147911.506308

OS Grid: TR328479

Mapcode National: GBR X27.MD0

Mapcode Global: VHLH5.1J1H

Entry Name: A Springfield style enclosure, a group of associated prehistoric pits and ditches and an oval barrow 1km NNE of Langdon Abbey

Scheduled Date: 31 October 1973

Last Amended: 6 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009020

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25460

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Langdon

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent


The monument includes a group of prehistoric crop and soil mark sites which
survive in buried form, and which are visible as dark, ditched features on
aerial photographs representing a settlement enclosure, linear boundaries and
a burial mound. It is situated on a chalk rise in the south eastern foothills
of the Kent Downs.

The largest and most north easterly feature is a so-called `Springfield style'
enclosure which has two concentric, sub-circular ditches c.4m wide, covering
an area measuring c.70m in diameter. Originally, the ditches would have been
edged with inner banks, although these have been levelled by past ploughing. A
number of crop marks are visible within the enclosure, including the possible
remains of a small rectangular structure which appears to partially overlie
the inner ditch on the north eastern side, at least three circular features on
the northern edge of the outer ditch and a sub-circular pit lying between the
ditches on the south eastern side.

To the north west of the enclosure is a group of associated linear ditches
which are interpreted as the remains of prehistoric boundaries. Interspersed
with these are a number of more indistinct crop marks most likely to represent
pits, working areas or ancillary buildings associated with the enclosure.
Around 55m to the south west is an oval barrow aligned north east-south west,
although levelled, visible on aerial photographs as representing a mound,
measuring c.35m by 20m flanked on either side by a curved ditch from which
material used to construct the mound was excavated. The ditches survive as
buried features c.3m wide. Within the enclosed area formerly occupied by the
mound are two roughly circular pits c.5m in diameter.

The modern fence near the northern edge of the monument is excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Springfield style enclosures are roughly circular enclosures, typically found
on a hilltop or spur and dating to the Middle/Late Bronze Age, with some
occupied into the Early Iron Age. They are named after the type site at
Springfield, Essex, one of the few examples in the country which has been
fully excavated. They are characterised by a single enclosure ditch with a
simple internal bank or box rampart. Within the enclosure, one or more
circular buildings may be found with numerous pits and postholes. Their
function appears to be domestic and such sites will yield archaeological and
environmental information about the lifestyle of the communities living in
them. They are found in eastern England, usually surviving as cropmark sites
visible through aerial photography, and are thought to number no more than
fifty in total. All surviving examples are considered to be of national
importance and will merit protection.

Despite the fact that its earthworks have been levelled by ploughing, the
Springfield style enclosure and the associated group of ditches and
pits c.1km NNE of Langdon Abbey survive as buried features and contain
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and
the landscape in which it was constructed. Situated 400m to the south west is
a bowl barrow. This is broadly contemporary with the enclosure and its
associated earthworks. Together these will provide evidence for the
relationsip between settlement, ceremonial and burial practices during the
period of their construction and use.

Oval barrows are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early to Middle
Neolithic periods, with the majority of positively dated barrows belonging to
the later part of the range. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds
of a roughly elliptical plan, usually surrounded by quarry ditches. These vary
from paired `banana-shaped' flanking ditches to `U-shaped', unbroken oval
ditches nearly or wholly encircling the mound. Along with long barrows, oval
barrrows represent the burial places of Britain's earliest farming communities
and are among the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the modern
landscape. Where investigated, oval barrows have produced two distinct types
of burial rite: communal burials of groups of individuals, including children,
laid directly on the ground surface before the barrow was built; and burials
of one or two adults interred in a grave pit centrally placed beneath the
barrow mound. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary
monument preceding the barrow and for periodic ceremonial activity which may
have taken place at the barrow after its construction. It is therefore
probable that oval barrows acted as important ritual sites for local
communities over a considerable period of time. They are a rare monument type,
with less than 50 recorded examples in England. As one of the few types of
Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks or buried features, all oval
barrows are considered to be nationally important.

Despite the levelling of its earthworks by modern ploughing, the oval barrow
c.55m south west of the Springfield style enclosure will contain
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and
the landscape in which it was constructed. Its proximity to the later, Bronze
Age settlement to the north provides evidence for the changing nature of land
use during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


AM107, Coad, V, SAM 257 Record form AA52822/1, (1992)
NMR, 1978+, various, TR 32 47/2-16 & 7517MAL/78005, (1978)
see file AA52822/1, Hogarth, AC, A/P 68, (1970)
see file AA52822/1, Hogarth, AC, Hogarth photo A/P 68, (1970)

Source: Historic England

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