Ancient Monuments

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Three sections of a linear earthwork south west of New Barn

A Scheduled Monument in Avebury, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.4394 / 51°26'21"N

Longitude: -1.8416 / 1°50'29"W

OS Eastings: 411106.625

OS Northings: 171166.5375

OS Grid: SU111711

Mapcode National: GBR 3VD.P77

Mapcode Global: VHB45.128W

Entry Name: Three sections of a linear earthwork south west of New Barn

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1969

Last Amended: 19 April 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013771

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21884

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Avebury

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument, which falls into three separate areas, includes three open
linear ditches and associated banks, forming part of a linear boundary
situated south west of New Barn.
The boundary, which appears to follow the contour on the northern side of a
spur, is not continuous, including a series of deliberate breaks.
The three sections of ditch are of similar form. They measure c.8m wide and,
although partially infilled, are visible as earthworks up to 0.8m deep. The
three sections, from east to west, are 65m, 286m and 168m long respectively.
They all end in deliberate terminals confirming that the earthwork was not
continuous. The north eastern end of the north eastern ditch section is
flanked by two slight banks 0.2m high and 0.5m wide. Although now levelled
elsewhere, these banks originally ran along the flanks of all the ditch
sections. Further sections of this ditch, infilled by arable cultivation in
the past, are known from aerial photographs to survive to the north east in
the parish of Winterbourne Monkton.
The earthwork is mentioned in a charter of AD 939, although it is considered
to be prehistoric in date. Excluded from the monument are the boundary fences
which cross it from east to west and north to south although the ground
beneath 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 Early Bronze Age
periods. Two of the best known and earliest recognised, with references in the
17th century, are around Avebury and Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a
World Heritage Site. In the Avebury area, the henge monument itself, the West
Kennet Avenue, the Sanctuary, West Kennet long barrow, Windmill Hill
causewayed enclosure and the enigmatic Silbury Hill are well-known. Whilst the
other Neolithic long barrows, the many Bronze Age round barrows and other
associated sites are less well-known, together they define one of the richest
and most varied areas of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and ritual
monuments in the country.

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or
multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between
less than 1km to over 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 who 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 three sections of linear boundary south west of New Barn survive well as
extant earthworks and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence
relating to the construction of the boundary and the landscape in which it was

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1957), 251
C/540/1777 F22 074-5, R.A.F., RAF vertical,
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series
Source Date: 1991
SU 17 SW (SMR overlay)
Title: Ordnance Survey 6" Series
Source Date: 1960
Barn shown with earthworks
WILTS 846, Williams, SMW., Sections of ditch E of Avebury Down Barn, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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