Ancient Monuments

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Causewayed enclosure and two ring ditches 140m south-east of New Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.0625 / 52°3'45"N

Longitude: -0.0078 / 0°0'27"W

OS Eastings: 536670.266124

OS Northings: 242333.370833

OS Grid: TL366423

Mapcode National: GBR K7J.QTN

Mapcode Global: VHGNB.TF86

Entry Name: Causewayed enclosure and two ring ditches 140m south-east of New Farm

Scheduled Date: 27 April 1976

Last Amended: 9 December 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009237

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20448

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Melbourn

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Melbourn

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a causewayed enclosure which is situated on fairly flat
land about 800m north of the foot of the Chilterns. Although no earthworks can
be observed on the ground, the monument is clearly visible from the air and is
recorded on aerial photographs; the following description is based on the
photographic record. The causewayed enclosure is circular, of maximum diameter
120m. The edge is defined over about two thirds of its circumference by a 5m
wide ditch which is discontinuous, being interrupted by causeways in at least
six places. On the south-western arc of the perimeter there is an 80m wide
gap, or major causeway, which is flanked on each side by a ring ditch which
may represent a round barrow levelled by recent cultivation: these latter
features are associated with a re-use of the Neolithic enclosure in the Bronze
Age and each comprises a 10m diameter circular enclosure bounded by a ditch
from which mound material was excavated. A second major causeway 50m wide lies
on the northern arc of the Neolithic enclosure and four minor causeways, each
less than 10m wide, are located at irregular intervals on the north-western
and south-eastern arcs.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Between 50 and 70 causewayed enclosures are recorded nationally, mainly in
southern and eastern England. They were constructed over a period of some 500
years during the middle part of the Neolithic period (c.3000-2400 BC) but also
continued in use into later periods. They vary considerably in size (from 2 to
70 acres) and were apparently used for a variety of functions, including
settlement, defence, and ceremonial and funerary purposes. However, all
comprise a roughly circular to ovoid area bounded by one or more concentric
rings of banks and ditches. The ditches, from which the monument class derives
its name, were formed of a series of elongated pits punctuated by unexcavated
causeways. Causewayed enclosures are amongst the earliest field monuments to
survive as recognisable features in the modern landscape and are one of the
few known Neolithic monument types. Due to their rarity, their wide diversity
of plan, and their considerable age, all causewayed enclosures are considered
to be nationally important.

Although partially eroded by ploughing, the monument near New Farm retains
conditions for the preservation of deeper features in the interior and silts
contemporary with the use of the interior will survive in the buried ditches.
The latter deposits have potential for the recovery of organic remains. The
enclosure has an unusual and close association with two ring ditches which
represent continuation of the site's use into the Bronze Age period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Palmer, R, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Interrupted Ditch Enclosures in Britain, , Vol. 42, (1976)
CUCAP: AXS 24-6, (1969)
CUCAP: BFB 25-26, (1971)
CUCAP: BLQ 17,18, (1973)
CUCAP: VR 91-3,

Source: Historic England

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