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Romano-Celtic temple 300m south west of Keysley Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Kingston Deverill, Wiltshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.1153 / 51°6'55"N

Longitude: -2.2014 / 2°12'5"W

OS Eastings: 385997.233311

OS Northings: 135131.038393

OS Grid: ST859351

Mapcode National: GBR 1WB.27Q

Mapcode Global: VH981.S7KC

Entry Name: Romano-Celtic temple 300m south west of Keysley Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016907

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31673

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Kingston Deverill

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: The Deverills and Horningsham

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes a Romano-Celtic temple situated on Keysley Down in
undulating chalk country to the south of Monkton Deverill. The site commands
extensive views to the south and the north west.
The temple is visible on aerial photographs in the form of light soilmarks
revealing the foundations of a square structure 63m by 61m enclosing a smaller
building approximately 22m square. These are interpreted as the temple
precinct, or temenos, enclosing the inner temple chamber, or cella. The
temenos has a break to the east thought to be an entrance. An adjoining square
structure to the west is interpreted as an ancillary structure or an earlier
site of the temple. A Bronze Age spirally twisted gold torc was found
immediately south of the temple structures.
Other soilmarks in the area representing Bronze Age settlement are not
included in the scheduling, as these remains have been substantially reduced
by ploughing. However, a large bowl barrow 45m to the south east is the
subject of a separate scheduling.

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

Romano-Celtic temples were built to meet the spiritual needs of the
communities they served by venerating the god or spirit considered to dwell in
a particular place. The temple building was regarded as the treasure house of
its deity and priests rather than as a congregational building and any
religious activities, including private worship, communal gatherings,
sanctuary and healing, took place outside.
Romano-Celtic temples included the temple building and a surrounding sacred
precinct or temenos which could be square, circular, rectangular or polygonal
in ground plan. The temple building invariably faced due east and was the
focus of the site, although it did not necessarily occupy the central position
in the temenos. It comprised a cella, or inner temple chamber, an ambulatory
or walkway around the cella, and sometimes annexes or antechambers. The
buildings were constructed of a variety of materials, including stone, cob and
timber, and walls were often plastered and painted both internally and
externally. Some temenoi enclosed other buildings, often substantial and built
in materials and styles similar to those of the temple; these are generally
interpreted as priests' houses, shops or guest houses.
Romano-Celtic temples were built and used throughout the Roman period from the
mid first century AD to the late fourth/early fifth century AD, with
individual examples being used for relatively long periods of time. They were
widespread throughout southern and eastern England, although there are no
examples in the far south west and they are rare nationally with only about
150 sites recorded in England. In view of their rarity and their importance in
contributing to the complete picture of Roman religious practice, including
its continuity from Iron Age practice, all Romano-Celtic temples with
surviving archaeological potential are considered to be of national
importance.

Aerial photographs of soilmarks 300m south west of Keysley Farm clearly show
the foundations of a Romano-Celtic temple surviving below the ploughline. It
will have considerable archaeological potential providing an insight into
Roman religious practice in this area. A Bronze Age barrow and a gold torc
found in the vicinity suggests that this site had special significance for
many centuries before Roman occupation.

Source: Historic England

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