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Bronze Age and Romano-British enclosure on Martin Down, east of Bokerley Junction

A Scheduled Monument in Martin, Hampshire

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Latitude: 50.9798 / 50°58'47"N

Longitude: -1.9401 / 1°56'24"W

OS Eastings: 404301.681332

OS Northings: 120043.438677

OS Grid: SU043200

Mapcode National: GBR 40W.GBH

Mapcode Global: FRA 66TJ.B0K

Entry Name: Bronze Age and Romano-British enclosure on Martin Down, east of Bokerley Junction

Scheduled Date: 20 October 1936

Last Amended: 6 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010870

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24341

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Martin

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Martin All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a sub-rectangular enclosure situated near the head of a
dry valley on Martin Down, a National Nature Reserve. Excavations carried out
by General Pitt Rivers in 1895-6 showed that the enclosure was constructed in
the Middle Bronze Age but evidence was also found of later Romano-British
activity on the site. Approximately half of the interior and all of the bank
and ditch were excavated, the present earthwork being Pitt Rivers'
The enclosure is surrounded by a single bank and external ditch and has
internal measurements of c.90m (south west to north east) by 63m. A gap of
c.40m occurs at the eastern end of the north side, which excavation showed to
be original. The eastern bank and ditch extend slightly north of the projected
line of the northern side. There are two entrances: one c.5m wide in the
eastern side and the other c.7m wide in the south side. The bank is up to 10m
wide, has a maximum height of c.1.5m above the bottom of the ditch and rises
to a maximum of 0.7m above the interior. The ditch is up to 6m wide. The bank
is reduced and the ditch infilled at the western side of the enclosure, the
site of a recent field boundary. Excavation showed that the ditch had
silted-up almost completely by the Romano-British period and a child burial
found within it is thought to date from this phase.
Finds recovered during Pitt Rivers' excavation included much worked flint,
animal bone and Bronze Age and Romano-British pottery. Recent reconsideration
of the pottery distribution shows that Romano-British material was much more
commonly recovered from the ditch than from the interior of the enclosure and
it has thus been suggested that the focus of activity at this time lay beyond
rather than within the enclosure, perhaps in the area of a field system not
far to the north.
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

Small enclosed settlements dating from the Middle Bronze Age are often
associated with earlier field systems and are known on some sites to have
replaced earlier unenclosed settlements. Enclosures of both sub-rectangular
and curvilinear plan are known; the sites are wholly or partly surrounded by a
ditch, bank or palisade, or by a combination or succession of all three. Where
excavated, sites have usually been found to contain a small group of domestic
buildings sufficient for a single or extended family group, although a few
larger enclosures are known. Evidence of a succession of buildings has been
found on some sites. The buildings are usually circular in plan but occasional
rectangular structures are known. Both types of building would have provided a
combination of living accommodation and storage or working areas. Storage pits
have been recorded inside buildings on some sites but are generally rarely
present. In addition to pottery and worked flint, large quantities of burnt
stone and metal working debris have been found in some enclosures.
Although the precise figure is not known, many small enclosed settlements are
located on the chalk downland of southern England. As a class they are
integral to understanding Bronze Age settlement and land use strategies, while
their often close proximity to the numerous burial monuments in the area will
provide insights into the relationship between secular and ceremonial activity
during the Middle Bronze Age.
A small number of small enclosed settlements survive on downland as visible
earthworks; the majority, however, occur in areas of more intensive
cultivation and survive in buried form, visible only from the air as soil
marks and crop marks. All examples with visible earthworks, and those in
buried form which retain significant surviving remains, are considered to be
of national importance.

Much of the archaeological landscape of Martin Down and the surrounding area
is preserved as earthworks or crop-marks and these together will provide a
detailed understanding of the nature and development of early downland
The enclosure on Martin Down is known from the excavation by Pitt Rivers to
contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction
and use of the site and providing an insight into agricultural practice in the
Bronze Age and Romano-British periods. The area has recently been the subject
of a detailed survey.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bowen, H C, Eagles, B N (ed), The archaeology of Bokerley Dyke, (1990), 107-9
Bowen, H C, Eagles, B N (ed), The archaeology of Bokerley Dyke, (1990)
Bowen, H C, Eagles, B N (ed), The archaeology of Bokerley Dyke, (1990)
Pitt Rivers, A, Excavations in Cranborne Chase, (1898), 187-8
Pitt Rivers, A, Excavations in Cranborne Chase, (1898), 187-8
Pitt Rivers, A, Excavations in Cranborne Chase, (1898)

Source: Historic England

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