Ancient Monuments

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Linear boundary within Normanton Gorse

A Scheduled Monument in Wilsford cum Lake, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1718 / 51°10'18"N

Longitude: -1.8399 / 1°50'23"W

OS Eastings: 411291.309897

OS Northings: 141411.933146

OS Grid: SU112414

Mapcode National: GBR 3YP.HN5

Mapcode Global: VHB5B.2T61

Entry Name: Linear boundary within Normanton Gorse

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010838

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10492

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Wilsford cum Lake

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Woodford Valley with Archers Gate

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a section of linear boundary aligned north east-south
west within Normanton Gorse, on the northern edge of an east-west combe that
crosses Wilsford Down. The monument is part of a complex of boundary
earthworks which extend for over 4km from west of Winterbourne Stoke
crossroads to Rox Hill in the south east, with extensions north east beyond
Normanton Gorse.
The section of linear boundary is 70m long and consists of a bank 5m wide and
c.0.3m high, flanked on its eastern side by a ditch 5m wide and 0.4m deep.
Aerial photographs reveal that it extends some 500m further south west of the
visible section and 250m to the north east. These latter sections of the
boundary are now difficult to identify on the ground and are therefore not
included in the scheduling.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath
them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A small number of areas in southern England appear to have acted as foci for
ceremonial and ritual activity during the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods.
Two of the best known and the earliest recognised areas are around Avebury and
Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a World Heritage Site.
The area of chalk downland which surrounds Stonehenge contains one of the
densest and most varied groups of Neolithic and Bronze Age field monuments in
Britain. Included within the area are Stonehenge itself, the Stonehenge
cursus, the Durrington Walls henge, and a variety of burial monuments, many
grouped into cemeteries.
The area has been the subject of archaeological research since the 18th
century when Stukeley recorded many of the monuments and partially excavated a
number of the burial mounds. More recently, the collection of artefacts from
the surfaces of ploughed fields has supplemented the evidence for ritual and
burial by revealing the intensity of contemporary settlement and land-use.
In view of the importance of the area, all ceremonial and sepulchral monuments
of this period which retain significant archaeological remains are identified
as nationally important.

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or
multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between
less than 1km to more than 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear
features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of
both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate
that their construction spans the millenium from the Middle Bronze Age,
although they may have been reused later.
The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were
constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries
in the landscape, their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of
their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious
associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those
groups which constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable
importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age. All
well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.
The linear boundary within Normanton Gorse survives well and will contain
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and
the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 251
RCHME, , Stonehenge and its Environs, (1979), 28

Source: Historic England

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