Ancient Monuments

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Banjo enclosure 480m south west of Cheldene

A Scheduled Monument in Ogbourne St. George, Wiltshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4769 / 51°28'36"N

Longitude: -1.6887 / 1°41'19"W

OS Eastings: 421714.952336

OS Northings: 175374.754781

OS Grid: SU217753

Mapcode National: GBR 4WJ.CW6

Mapcode Global: VHC1H.P43M

Entry Name: Banjo enclosure 480m south west of Cheldene

Scheduled Date: 10 January 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017363

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30285

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Ogbourne St. George

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Details

The monument includes the buried remains of a banjo enclosure situated 480m
south west of Cheldene on a chalk plateau which forms the western extremity of
Aldbourne Chase.

The enclosure is no longer visible on the ground and the details of its form
have been derived from cropmarks visible on aerial photographs and from
measured surveys produced prior to the commencement of ploughing in the 1970s.
The enclosure originally consisted of a ditch enclosing an elliptical platform
with faint traces of an external bank. The enclosure had a maximum external
diameter of 64m north west to south east and was joined on its western side by
a sunken trackway which extended on an east to west axis for approximately 50m
before continuing across the valley immediately to the west for at least a
further 1km on a series of different alignments. Much of this trackway has
been levelled by cultivation and is no longer visible, even on aerial
photographs. Only the first 50m length actually abutting the enclosure, which
is still visible on aerial photographs, is included in the 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

Banjo enclosure is the term used by archaeologists for a distinctive type of
prehistoric settlement. They were mostly constructed and used during the
Middle Iron Age (400-100 BC), although some remained in use up to the time of
the Roman Conquest (AD 43). Typical banjo enclosures have an oval or sub-
rectangular central area, rarely greater than 0.4ha in size, encircled by a
broad, steep-sided ditch and an external bank. There is characteristically a
single entrance, approached by an avenue up to 90m long formed by out-turnings
of the enclosure's ditch. The entrance to the avenue sometimes has further
`antennae' ditches, giving a funnel-like appearance; or it may be connected to
a transverse linear ditch. The enclosures resemble banjos when viewed in plan,
hence their name. Excavated banjo enclosures have been found to contain
evidence of habitation, evidence for wooden structures provided by post holes
and drainage gullies, and storage and refuse pits. These features, together
with the ditches, generally contain abundant artefacts, and can provide
environmental evidence illustrating the landscape in which the monument was
set, and the economy of its inhabitants. The enclosures are often associated
with other types of Iron Age monuments, including other enclosures, field
systems, trackways and other unenclosed settlement forms. Together, these
monument types provide information concerning the diversity of social
organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.
Banjo enclosures are largely known from cropmarks and soilmarks recorded from
the air, although a few survive as earthworks. Over 200 examples are recorded
nationally, the majority of which are located in Wessex and around the upper
Thames Valley: particular concentrations have been noted on the chalk downland
of Hampshire. Elsewhere they are very rare, with isolated examples recorded in
the Midlands and the north. The existence of further examples is likely to be
confirmed by aerial photographic survey. Examples with significant surviving
remains are considered worthy of protection, as are those representing the
range of known types.

Despite having been disturbed by ploughing, the banjo enclosure 480m south
west of Cheldene represents a rare survival in Wiltshire. It will contain
environmental evidence relating to the monument, the landscape in which it was
constructed and the nature of the localised agricultural economy with which it
was associated.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), p.261
Other
Ordnance Survey, SU 27 NW 26, (1973)
Wiltshire County Council, 1:10000, (1991)
Wiltshire County Council, SU 27 NW 647,

Source: Historic England

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