Ancient Monuments

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Long mortuary enclosure and ring ditch 250m south west of Week Meadow Farm

A Scheduled Monument in North Tawton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7993 / 50°47'57"N

Longitude: -3.9176 / 3°55'3"W

OS Eastings: 264962.576409

OS Northings: 101728.709835

OS Grid: SS649017

Mapcode National: GBR KX.YZ8T

Mapcode Global: FRA 26PZ.FM0

Entry Name: Long mortuary enclosure and ring ditch 250m south west of Week Meadow Farm

Scheduled Date: 11 December 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020071

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34280

County: Devon

Civil Parish: North Tawton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: North Tawton St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes the cropmarks of a long mortuary enclosure and ring
ditch situated on an upland ridge overlooking the valley of the River Taw.
The mortuary enclosure consists of an elongated cigar shaped feature measuring
up to approximately 70m long by 19m wide, being defined by an outer ditch.
The ring ditch is immediately adjacent to this and measures up to
approximately 35m in diameter including its outer ditch. Both features are
clearly recognisable as cropmarks from the air, and are preserved as buried

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

Long mortuary enclosures are oblong-shaped enclosures up to 150m in length,
surrounded by narrow, fairly straight ditches with slightly rounded corners,
containing an open space edged by a perimeter bank set within the ditch.
Characteristically there are two or more major causeways across the ditch
which served as entrances. Most long mortuary enclosures are orientated
within 45 degrees of an east-west alignment. Long mortuary enclosures are
generally associated with human burials dated to the Early and Middle
Neolithic periods (c.3200-2500 BC). There are approximately 35 examples
recorded in England. The greatest concentration lies in Essex and Suffolk,
but there are also examples along the Thames and in Warwickshire along the
Avon; two isolated examples have been recorded in Northumberland. Long
mortuary enclosures are very rare nationally and all surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

A ring ditch is the levelled remains of a prehistoric round barrow, normally
of Late Neolithic to Late Bronze Age date (2400-1500 BC). These were
originally constructed as earthen or rubble mounds covering single or multiple
burials with an encircling ditch. Despite ploughing, cut features such as the
quarry ditch and central burial are likely to survive.
Despite reduction in the heights of these earthworks through cultivation, the
long mortuary enclosure and ring ditch 220m south of Shoalhill Cross will
contain both archaeological and environmental information relating to the
monument and its surrounding landscape.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS60SW47, (1992)

Source: Historic England

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