Ancient Monuments

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Cursus and bowl barrow 450m south east of Jackson's Barn

A Scheduled Monument in Charlecote, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.2057 / 52°12'20"N

Longitude: -1.6097 / 1°36'34"W

OS Eastings: 426768.711213

OS Northings: 256456.635671

OS Grid: SP267564

Mapcode National: GBR 5N2.MVX

Mapcode Global: VHBXW.1TWH

Entry Name: Cursus and bowl barrow 450m south east of Jackson's Barn

Scheduled Date: 7 March 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020437

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35051

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Charlecote

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Charlecote St Leonard

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument includes the buried remains of a cursus and ring ditch, 450m
south east of Jackson's Barn, on a gravel terrace north of the River Dene,
close to its confluence with the River Avon. The buried remains are visible as
cropmarks (areas of enhanced plant growth over buried archaeological features)
on aerial photographs.

Two linear cropmarks, aligned north to south, are believed to represent the
remains of a cursus, an elongated ditched enclosure of Neolithic date. The
linear cropmarks, representing the buried remains of the ditches, lie
parallel, about 30m apart, and are visible for a distance of approximately
200m. The former extent of their survival beyond the scheduling is not known.

A sub-circular cropmark representing a ring ditch, lying on the line of the
western cursus ditch, is thought to indicate the remains of a bowl barrow. The
circular cropmark, measuring approximately 20m in diameter, represents the
ditch that enclosed the former mound which is no longer evident. Located
centrally within the circular ditch is a roughly circular cropmark, about 8m
in width, believed to represent the remains of a burial pit over which the
mound would have been raised.

Flint implements, dating chiefly from the Neolithic to the early Bronze Age
period, have been found in the area, with a concentration of artefacts noted
in the vicinity of the cursus and barrow. Situated on a river terrace, the
cursus and barrow are part of a wider landscape of prehistoric and later
features recorded along the Avon valley.

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

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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, but occasionally by a line of
closely set pits. The two long sides run roughly parallel and may incorporate
earlier monuments of other classes. Access to the interior was restricted to a
small number of entranceways, usually near the ends of the long sides.
Cursus monuments vary enormously in length, from 250m at the lower end of the
range up to 5.6km in the case of the Dorset Cursus. The width is normally in
the range 20m to 60m. The greatest variations in the ground plan occur at the
terminals, with a variety of both round ended and square ended examples
recorded. 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.
There are indications re-cutting or extending of the ditches at some sites and
the distribution of monuments of later periods often respects cursus monuments
demonstrating their continued recognition through time. Taken together, these
features indicate construction and use over a long period of time.
Cursus monuments have been interpreted in various ways since their initial
identification. The name itself is the Latin term for race track and this was
one of the functions suggested by Stukeley in the 18th century. More recently
a ritual or ceremonial role has been suggested.
Of the 40 or so examples recorded nationally, most are widely scattered across
central and eastern England, though the distribution extends to northern
counties. The majority lie on the flat, well drained gravel terraces of major
river valleys, but a number are known on the chalk downlands of Dorset and
As one of the few known classes of Neolithic monument, and due to their
comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument
type, all cursus monuments are considered to be nationally important.

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the late Neolithic to the late Bronze Age, with most examples
belonging to the period 2400 - 1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen and
rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials.
Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element of the
modern landscape, and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a
monument type provides important information on the diversity of beliefs and
social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities.

The cursus and bowl barrow 450m south east of Jackson's Barn survive well as a
series of buried remains. The buried deposits will preserve evidence relating
to the construction and use of the cursus and its relationship with the bowl
barrow. The complex will provide valuable information relating to the
landscape within which they were originally constructed and will contribute to
our understanding of land use in prehistoric society.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Webster, G, Hobley, B, 'The Archaeological Journal' in Aerial Reconnaissance Over the Warwickshire Avon, , Vol. 121, (1964), 1-22
Wise, P J, Bond, E, 'Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society' in A Reassessment of the Flint Implements at HRI, Wellesbourne, , Vol. 97, (1991), 88
Baker, WA, SP 2656/5 frame 48, SP 2656/7 frame 50, (1970)
Baker, WA, SP2656/5 frame 48, SP2656/7 frame 50, (1970)
Jones, C and Gethin, B, Archaeological observation at HRI, Wellesbourne, (1995)
Pickering, J, Warwicks SMR ref: SP2656 I, (1961)
Pickering, J, Warwickshire SMR ref: SP2656 I, (1961)
Warwickshire SMR, WA1141, (1999)
Warwickshire SMR, WA1145, (1999)
Warwickshire SMR, WA6076, (1999)
Warwickshire SMR, WA6272, (1999)
Warwickshire SMR, WA7425, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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