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Caer-Din Ring: a small enclosed Iron Age or Romano-British settlement, an adjacent ancient field boundary, round barrow and cultivation remains

A Scheduled Monument in Newcastle on Clun, Shropshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.4582 / 52°27'29"N

Longitude: -3.1198 / 3°7'11"W

OS Eastings: 324009.553845

OS Northings: 285064.091879

OS Grid: SO240850

Mapcode National: GBR B1.L8KS

Mapcode Global: VH68L.WG2W

Entry Name: Caer-Din Ring: a small enclosed Iron Age or Romano-British settlement, an adjacent ancient field boundary, round barrow and cultivation remains

Scheduled Date: 30 September 1936

Last Amended: 22 June 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021280

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34948

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Newcastle on Clun

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Newcastle

Church of England Diocese: Hereford

Details

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a small enclosed
Iron Age or Romano-British settlement known as Caer-Din Ring, the earthwork
and buried remains of an ancient field boundary and round barrow, together
with remains of ridge and furrow cultivation.

The enclosed settlement occupies a commanding position on the summit of a hill
overlooking the Folly Brook valley to the west. From this location there are
extensive views in every direction. Other broadly contemporary small enclosed
settlements in the vicinity include examples on Fron, 2.5km to south east, on
Castle Idris, 2.6km to the south, and near Cwm Farm, 2km to the north east.
All these settlements are the subject of separate schedulings.

Caer-Din Ring is sub-rectangular in plan. Its overall dimensions are
approximately 114m east-west by 122m north-south, and its internal area is
about 0.85ha. The earthworks which define the interior of the settlement
consist of a bank, constructed of earth and stone, and an external ditch. The
bank is between 6m and 9.5m wide, and stands up to 1.8m high. The width of the
ditch is between 3m and 4.5m, and along part of the outer edge on the north
western side its steep rock-cut face is still plainly visible. The original
entranceway into the settlement is on the eastern side and is 4m wide. A
smaller entranceway at the north west corner of the enclosure appears to be a
later feature. Within the interior there are a series of level platforms, some
of which are partially cut into the gently sloping ground. These platforms
provided level areas for the construction of houses and ancillary buildings.

Down the slope, between 55m and 65m to the east of the settlement, is an
ancient field boundary, comprising a bank about 4.5m wide and 1.5m high, and
an external ditch between 3m and 4m wide. The bank is of earth and stone
construction, and appears to have been built in a series of short straight
lengths. There is an original break in this boundary towards its southern end,
where there is a 10m wide causeway across the ditch and a corresponding gap in
the bank. The southern part of this boundary closely follows the alignment of
the eastern side of the enclosed settlement. Its course then changes and heads
in a north westerly direction. The northern part of the boundary has been
levelled by ploughing. However, aerial photographs indicate that the infilled
ditch survives well as a buried feature, and it is therefore included in the
scheduling. The known extent of this boundary is approximately 450m.

The original break in the boundary lies directly opposite the original
entrance into the enclosed settlement. Running in a slight curve between the
entranceway into the enclosure and the break in the field boundary is a
shallow depression nearly 60m long, about 8m wide and 0.3m deep. This linear
depression, or hollow way, has been caused by the passage of people, animals
and vehicles over a long time. The position of the field boundary in relation
to the settlement enclosure, and the presence of the hollow way, which
connects them both, suggest that the settlement and the field boundary are
contemporary.

Virtually opposite the break in the field boundary, about 30m to the east, are
the remains of a Bronze Age round barrow. The barrow mound was built with
earth and stone. It is roughly circular, about 8m in diameter, and stands to a
height of 0.5m. There is a depression in the centre of the mound, which looks
like an old excavation trench. There are, however, no records of any such
investigation having been conducted. Although no longer visible at ground
level, a ditch, from which material was quarried to construct the monument,
surrounds the mound. This has become infilled over the years and survives as a
buried feature, approximately 3m wide.

To the east of the northern part of the ancient field boundary, and running
parallel with it, are the remains of ridge and furrow cultivation. This
cultivation system is clearly later than the field boundary as it partly
extends into the boundary ditch. The width of these ridges, between 5m and 7m,
indicate that they were probably formed during the medieval period. A shallow
ditch, up to 5m wide, runs south east from the point where the ancient
boundary changes to a southerly direction. It would appear that this ditch
acted as a boundary for the cultivation system and is likely to be
contemporary with it. A 250m long sample of this cultivation system, which
includes a 100m length of the associated ditch, is included in the scheduling
in order to preserve their relationship with the earlier field boundary.

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

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

During the Iron Age and Roman period a variety of settlement types were
constructed throughout Britain. Small enclosed settlements consist of discrete
areas of occupation, bounded largely or wholly by continuous single or
concentric ditches, banks or walls, and palisades. The size of these
curvilinear or rectilinear enclosures is generally less than 2ha. They were
occupied by a small community, perhaps a single family or several related
family groups. In their original form the enclosures contained a single main
domestic building, or several clusters of domestic buildings. These structures
are normally circular and are often associated with rectangular buildings used
for the storage of agricultural produce. Small enclosed settlements became
common features in the landscape during the second half of the first
millennium BC and throughout the Roman period. They were the dwelling places
of people engaged in small-scale farming and craft production. Considerable
numbers of small enclosed settlements are known, but most have been levelled
by ploughing. All small enclosed settlements where earthwork or standing
structural remains survive are considered to be of national importance.

The small enclosed Iron Age or Romano-British settlement known as Caer-Din
Ring is a fine example of this class of monument. Its significance is greatly
enhanced by its association with a well-preserved contemporary field boundary.
The survival within the enclosure of building platforms as earthworks
indicates that the buried remains of structures and associated deposits will
survive well. These deposits will contain organic remains and a range of
contemporary artefacts, which will provide valuable insights into the
activities and lifestyles of the inhabitants. This information could be used
with the evidence from other nearby contemporary settlements to provide a
comprehensive picture of life in this region during the Iron Age and Roman
period. The earthworks forming the enclosure of Caer-Din Ring and the
associated field boundary will retain evidence about the nature of their
construction. In addition, organic remains surviving in the buried ground
surfaces beneath these banks and within the ditches will provide information
about the local environment and the past use of the surrounding land. The
remains of ridge and furrow cultivation adjacent to an ancient field boundary
provide additional evidence about the changing nature of farming practice in
this area.

Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to
the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500BC.
They were constructed as earthen mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered
single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as
cemeteries and often acted as the focus of burials in later periods. Often
superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit
regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices.

Despite some excavation of the barrow mound, the round barrow east of Caer-
Din Ring is a good example of this class of monument. Like the later field
boundary and the earthworks which define the settlement, the barrow will
retain evidence of its construction, together with organic remains which
will provide information about the environment and land use in the vicinity.
The barrow mound is also likely to contain evidence of the burial or burials
placed within it. These remains will add to our knowledge and understanding
of Bronze Age funerary practices in this area. The location of the enclosed
settlement and the associated field boundary in relation to the barrow
indicates that the barrow continued to act as an important landscape feature
during this later period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Guilbert, G, 'Archaeologia Cambrensis' in Caer-Din Ring, Salop, , Vol. 75, (1976), 165-69

Source: Historic England

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