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Neolithic enclosures at Grey's Farm, Horseley Fen

A Scheduled Monument in Manea, Cambridgeshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.4299 / 52°25'47"N

Longitude: 0.0753 / 0°4'31"E

OS Eastings: 541194.322888

OS Northings: 283348.156451

OS Grid: TL411833

Mapcode National: GBR L4J.MVN

Mapcode Global: VHHJ3.8652

Entry Name: Neolithic enclosures at Grey's Farm, Horseley Fen

Scheduled Date: 15 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009993

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20805

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Manea

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Chatteris St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Ely

Details

The monument includes parts of three contiguous Neolithic enclosures, defined
by interconnecting ditches. It is located on a terrace of clayey gravel which
was above the peat fen during the earlier prehistoric period, but buried
beneath it by the first millennium BC. Two of the enclosures are situated
c.130m apart, with the third enclosure partly defined between them. The ditch
around the eastern side of the largest, western enclosure is also accompanied
by the remains of an internal bank. The southern part of the ditch on the
east side of the western enclosure remains visible as an earthwork under
pasture. Elsewhere the ditches have become completely infilled, but survive as
buried features which have been traced by soil and crop marks, visible on the
ground and from the air.

The western enclosure measures at least 290m south east - north west. The
ditch along the eastern side runs SSW - NNE for a distance of c.280m, turning
westward to form a gently curving northern boundary which is distinct for a
distance of c.160m. Sampling of the ditch on the east side has demonstrated
that it is up to 1.5m deep, with infill deposits to a depth of up to 1.35m,
and that along the bottom there is a slot which held a palisade. The southern
end is visible for a distance of c.150m as a linear hollow, c.0.25m deep and
3m wide in the ground surface. The slight spread remains of a bank c.7.5m wide
run around the inner edge of the ditch. In the angle between the eastern and
northern ditches is an internal rectangular, ditched enclosure measuring
c.150m north-south by c.75m east-west. Above this and to the west of it,
evidence of Neolithic occupation has been found, including fragments of
pottery, flint implements, bone and burnt stone.

The second principal enclosure, to the east, is roughly rectangular and has
dimensions of c.85m by at least 230m, aligned north-south. A slightly
curving east-west ditch connects the eastern ditch of the first enclosure
and the western ditch of the second so as to form the northern boundary of the
third.

The enclosures are the most prominent of a series of features, some of them
ceremonial in character, which have been revealed by crop marks within an area
of c.68ha and are dated by their context to the Neolithic or Bronze Age
periods.

All boundary fences within or bordering the area of the scheduling are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Very few large, rectilinear enclosures of demonstrable Neolithic date have
been recorded or investigated in England. The purposes for which such
enclosures were constructed and used probably varied, but may have included
stock management as well as domestic occupation, ceremonial activity and
possibly defence. Because of their extreme rarity and great age, all such
enclosures with surviving earthworks along with those which retain
sub-surface remains of good quality are considered to be nationally important.

The Neolithic enclosures at Grey's Farm survive well and, in that parts of the
earthworks remain visible, are unique of their kind in eastern England. The
monument will retain rare archaeological information concerning the
construction and use of the enclosures, and evidence of domestic activity and
farming, as well as of the local environment at the time, will be contained in
deposits in the ditches and in features beneath the turf and ploughsoil in the
interior of the enclosures. The proximity of the enclosures to other features
known to be of Neolithic and Bronze Age date, adds further interest.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Hall, D N, Palmer, R, Fenland Evaluation Project: Cambridgeshire, (1990)
Leah, M, Mathews, M, Fenland Evaluation Project: Norfolk, (1990)
Hall, D, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in The Fenland Project No.6: The South-western Cambridgeshire Fens, , Vol. 56, (1992), 84
Other
CUCAP RC8-EC 236-237,
RCHME TL4083/2/76-77, TL4183/1/190-191, /3/3/269-272, /6/100-102,

Source: Historic England

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