Ancient Monuments

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Small enclosed settlement in Knuck Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Mainstone, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.4738 / 52°28'25"N

Longitude: -3.0672 / 3°4'2"W

OS Eastings: 327603.861081

OS Northings: 286738.576399

OS Grid: SO276867

Mapcode National: GBR B3.K9HP

Mapcode Global: VH762.S2BY

Entry Name: Small enclosed settlement in Knuck Wood

Scheduled Date: 30 June 2005

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021363

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35877

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Mainstone

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Mainstone

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a small enclosed
settlement, which is either Iron Age or Romano-British in origin, situated at
the south eastern end of the summit of a steep-sided spur between the River
Unk and a tributary to the south. It lies just over 2km ESE of another small
enclosed settlement of broadly contemporary date, which is the subject of a
separate scheduling.
The enclosed settlement in Knuck Wood is sub-rectangular in plan. Its overall
dimensions are approximately 70m south west-north east by 105m north
west-south east. The internal area of the settlement is about 0.35ha and is
defined by an earth and stone bank. The top of the bank is level with the
interior and the scarp forming the outer face varies in height around the
circuit. Along the northern side, the bank steadily increases in height from
0.5m at the west to 1.7m at the east, partly reflecting the natural fall of
the ground, while the eastern side of the enclosure has been formed by
artificially accentuating the side of the spur. The bank around the southern
and south western sides is the most pronounced and varies in height from 1.5m
to 2.4m. The base of the bank further north on the western side has been cut
by a road. With the probable exception of the eastern side, the bank is
bounded by an external ditch, which has been infilled, and for much of its
length it survives well as a buried feature. The ditch is discernible as a
slight terrace between 3m and 4m wide along the southern and south western
sides. The northern part of the ditch on the western side has been modified
by the construction of the road, and as a consequence is not included in the
scheduling. The exact location of the entrance into the enclosure is not
clear, but is likely to be towards the western end of the northern side,
where the opposing ground is level.
All fence posts 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

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 settlement in Knuck Wood is a good example of this class
of monument. In common with other broadly contemporary settlements in this
area, it is considered to contain significant buried deposits, structural
features, artefactual and organic remains, which have the potential to
illustrate many aspects of life during the Iron Age and Roman period. The
earthworks forming the enclosure will retain evidence about their
construction. Organic remains surviving in the buried ground surface beneath
the bank and within the ditch will provide information about the local
environment, including the use of the surrounding land, before the settlement
was built and during its occupation.

Source: Historic England

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