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Burwains Camp prehistoric defended settlement west of Broad Bank Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Briercliffe, Lancashire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.8132 / 53°48'47"N

Longitude: -2.1497 / 2°8'58"W

OS Eastings: 390238.828161

OS Northings: 435227.376665

OS Grid: SD902352

Mapcode National: GBR FSFB.DS

Mapcode Global: WHB7Y.YFH1

Entry Name: Burwains Camp prehistoric defended settlement west of Broad Bank Hill

Scheduled Date: 15 April 1929

Last Amended: 12 December 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013814

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27677

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Briercliffe

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Briercliffe St James

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn

Details

The monument includes Burwains Camp prehistoric defended settlement. It is
located on a hilltop on the northern side of the steep-sided Thursden Valley
and includes a circular enclosure surrounded by an inner ditch and an outer
bank. The enclosure measures approximately 45m in diameter, the ditch measures
c.0.3m wide by 0.25m deep, and the outer bank measures c.2m wide and up to
0.3m high. There are opposed entrances through the bank and across the ditch
on the west and east sides. The results of limited excavation in 1950 suggest
that the monument is prehistoric in origin. The surrounding bank consisted of
boulder clay from the ditch. Beneath the bank a small hearth was found
together with a deposit of charcoal and burnt earth indicating either earlier
prehistoric activity or modifications to the bank and ditch during the
occupation of the monument. A second small hearth was found approximately
3m WSW of the enclosure's centre. Artefacts located during the excavation
included a number of worked flint and chert flakes, and a polished stone
axehead which, upon examination, was found to come from the Neolithic axe
factory in Great Langdale, Cumbria. This axehead was found in an unstratified
context and cannot thus be taken to be chronologically associated with the
construction or occupation of the monument.

MAP EXTRACT
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

During the mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of
different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied
in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts
built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites,
sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended
settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops,
others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of
earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate),
others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen
ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber
fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built
round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept
in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed
yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single
family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction
and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through
to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD).
Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element
of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are
important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during
this period. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national
importance.

Burwains Camp prehistoric defended settlement survives reasonably well and
remains unencumbered by modern development. The 1950 excavation was limited in
extent but located occupation evidence consisting of hearths, flint tools and
a polished stone axehead, and confirming the monument's archaeological
value. The site will retain further evidence of its prehistoric occupation and
use which will contribute to a fuller understanding of its development.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Powell, T G F, 'Trans Hist Soc Lancs & Chesh' in Excavation of Circular Enclosure at Broad Bank, Briercliffe, , Vol. 104, (1952), 145-51

Source: Historic England

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