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Causewayed enclosure and Anglo-Saxon cemetery 500m ENE of Heath Place

A Scheduled Monument in Chadwell St Mary, Thurrock

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Latitude: 51.4996 / 51°29'58"N

Longitude: 0.378 / 0°22'40"E

OS Eastings: 565154.830323

OS Northings: 180531.78922

OS Grid: TQ651805

Mapcode National: GBR NLT.SH1

Mapcode Global: VHJL5.HKPR

Entry Name: Causewayed enclosure and Anglo-Saxon cemetery 500m ENE of Heath Place

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1974

Last Amended: 29 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009286

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24868

County: Thurrock

Electoral Ward/Division: Chadwell St Mary

Built-Up Area: Southfields

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Orsett; St Giles and All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a Neolithic causewayed enclosure and an Anglo-Saxon
round barrow cemetery situated on a natural platform on the Thames terraces.
The land slopes gently away from the monument towards the south into the
valley of a small tributary of the Thames. To the east and west it slopes into
smaller dry valleys.

Although there are no visible earthworks at ground level the monument survives
as buried features which have been recognised as cropmarks from aerial
photographs. These include three roughly circular concentric interrupted
ditches (i.e.they are not continuous but are, rather, crossed by causeways at
irregular intervals), enclosing an area at least 160m in diameter.
The outer two ditches are 10m apart. A palisade trench lies between the inner
and middle ditches. This palisade trench has three breaks in it, coinciding
with those in the outer ditches. The inner ditch is between 30m and 40m from
the middle ditch and encloses an area measuring between 80m and 95m across.
Other internal features such as postholes and pits can be seen within the
enclosed area on aerial photographs.
Also visible on aerial photographs, within the southern half of the inner
circuit, are at least 5 round barrows represented by ring ditch cropmarks.
These are between 8m and 13m in diameter with a circular ditch from 1m-2m wide
and up to 0.35m deep.

In 1975 trial trenching and small scale excavation took place in order to
verify the interpretation of the monument. Parts of the ditches and palisade
slot were excavated which confirmed their Neolithic date. A continuous bank
was found to have been originally constructed on the berm between the two
outer ditches, the material for which was quarried from the interrupted
ditches. The palisade was an additional, contemporary, defensive feature
inside the middle ditch. Within the enclosed area various pits and post holes
were investigated. A number of the features identified during excavation were
shown to be Iron Age in date. A period of Early Iron Age settlement was
followed in the Middle Iron Age by an enclosed settlement within a rectilinear
ditched enclosure, which lies within the southern part of the monument.
In addition, two of the five ring ditches were fully excavated and were found
to represent round barrows containing Saxon inhumation burials in wooden

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 10 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.

The causewayed enclosure 500m ENE of Heath Place survives well beneath the
plough soil. This has been confirmed from cropmark plots of aerial
photographs and recent partial excavation which has left undisturbed 90% of
the monument. These excavations produced much information concerning the
original form and construction of the monument as well as discovering
quantities of Neolithic flint tools and pottery sherds. There are only two
causewayed enclosures known in Essex and so the information contained within
this monument can give rare insights into the economy of the locality as well
as the social and religious life of the people who occupied it. The
establishment of an Iron Age settlement site here is also of great interest
and indicates that the site had been adapted for a variety of uses throughout
its long life.
The construction of an Anglo-Saxon barrow cemetery within the inner circuit of
the causewayed enclosure indicates that it was still a significant site for
the local population 3,000 years after it was first constructed. This group of
burials is one of only a small number of known Saxon barrow groups in East
Anglia. This cemetery is particularly representative of the middle Anglo-Saxon
period (7th - 8th century) and will provide rare evidence for social and
burial practices at this date.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hedges, J, Buckley, D, Excavations at a Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure, Orsett, Essex, (1978)
Hedges, J, Buckley, D, 'PPS 44, 1978, 219-308' in Excavations at a Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure, Orsett, Essex., (1978)
Hedges, J, Buckley, D, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Excavations at a Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure, Orsett, Essex., , Vol. 44, (1975), 219-308
Cambridge University Collection, CUCAP 161/652 805, (1970)
CUCAP 161/652805, (1970)
CUCAP K17 U 117, (1970)
Essex SMR PRN 5162,
Essex SMR PRN 5158,
NMR 6481/6/425, (1976)
NMR TQ6481/6/425, (1976)
NMR TQ6481/6/426, (1976)
NMR TQ6880/31/411,
NMR TQ6880/31/411, (1976)
NMR, NMR TQ6881/6/425-6, (1976)

Source: Historic England

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