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Prehistoric pit alignments and associated features 160m north of The Barbellows

A Scheduled Monument in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.3652 / 52°21'54"N

Longitude: -1.4091 / 1°24'32"W

OS Eastings: 440330.654276

OS Northings: 274293.811708

OS Grid: SP403742

Mapcode National: GBR 6MQ.QK2

Mapcode Global: VHBX6.JTF6

Entry Name: Prehistoric pit alignments and associated features 160m north of The Barbellows

Scheduled Date: 5 March 1973

Last Amended: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020034

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33149

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Ryton-on-Dunsmore

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Ryton-on-Dunsmore St Leonard

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument includes prehistoric pit alignments and associated cropmark
features located approximately 160m north of The Barbellows. Two pit
alignments, visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs, are aligned
approximately south east-north west and north east-south west. The north
east-south west alignment measures approximately 170m in length and the
south east-north west alignment is visible for a distance of about 160m. The
two alignments appear to intersect at their northern ends.

Limited archaeological excavation in 1998 confirmed the presence of buried
archaeological features, locating one of the pits in the south east-north
west alignment. This was found to be an oval, steep-sided pit, 0.4m deep. Two
gullies were also revealed, associated with the pit alignment. One, on roughly
the same alignment as the pits, included early to middle Iron Age pottery. The
other gully was aligned approximately east-west. The investigation
established the presence of additional archaeological features not visible on
aerial photographs, indicating that further buried remains may survive in
association with the pit alignments.

Two roughly parallel linear cropmarks, aligned approximately south east-north
west, lie between the two pit alignments. The linear cropmarks, visible for a
distance of approximately 90m and lying about 20m apart, have been interpreted
as part of a cursus, an elongated ditched enclosure of Neolithic date. Further
cropmarks, of possible prehistoric date, including a part of a subrectangular
enclosure, are visible to the south of the intersection of the two pit

Faint cropmarks indicate that the north east-south west pit alignment
formerly extended further in both directions and the south east-north west
alignment appeared to extend for a short distance to the north west. However,
the level of survival of these parts of the alignments is unknown and they are
therefore are not included in the scheduling.

All fence posts, telegraph poles and the shed are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A pit alignment is a linear arrangement of fairly closely spaced pits which
vary in shape from round, through oval, to rectangular. Nearly all pit
alignments have been discovered by aerial photography and sometimes occur as
part of a more complex linear earthwork including linear ditches, slots,
palisades and linear banks. Pit alignments are among a fairly wide range of
monuments of later prehistoric date and although little is known about their
function and significance, they are believed to be related to division of the
agricultural and political landscape. Linear boundaries are of considerable
importance for the analysis of land use in the later prehistoric period; all
well preserved samples will normally merit statutory protection.

A cursus is an elongated rectilinear earthwork, the length of which is
normally greater than 250m and more than ten times its width. The sides are
usually defined by a bank and external ditch. The two long sides run roughly
parallel and may incorporate earlier monuments of other classes. Dateable
finds from cursus monuments are few. Early Neolithic pottery has been found in
the primary fill of some ditches, but there is also evidence of construction
in the late Neolithic period. A ritual or ceremonial role has been suggested.
As one of the the few known classes of Neolithic monument, due to their
comparative rarity, their considerable age and longevity as a monument type,
all cursus monuments are considered to be nationally important.

The pit alignments and associated features 160m north of The Barbellows
survive well as a series of buried remains. Limited archaeological excavation
of part of the monument has demonstrated good survival of the pits and
established the presence of buried remains associated with the pit alignment
and provided dating evidence for the complex. The pit alignments and
associated features will preserve valuable information relating to the
landscape within which they were originally created, and will contribute to
our understanding of land use in prehistoric society.

Source: Historic England


Baker, A, 2312, 2313, 2314, 2315, (1962)
CUCAP, AFX27, (1962)
CUCAP, ZV29, (1959)
WA3426, (1999)
WA3961, (1999)
WA4280, (1999)
Warwickshire County Council Heritage, Archaeological evaluation at Barbellows Farm, Ryton on Dunsmore, (1998)
Warwickshire County Council Museum, Archaeological observation at Barbellows Farm, Wolston Grounds, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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