The Creation of Monuments

BookThe Creation of Monuments

The Creation of Monuments

Neolithic Causewayed Enclosures in the British Isles

English Heritage


July 15th, 2014

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Neolithic Causewayed enclosures are amongst the oldest, rarest and most enigmatic of the ancient monuments found in Europe. First recognised as a distinct type in the 1920s, sixty-nine certain or probable examples have now been identified in the British Isles. As a class, they are of outstanding importance, for while their precise functions remain unclear, they represent the first non-funerary monuments and the earliest instance of the enclosure of open space. This book presents an overview of the findings of a systematic national programme of research, carried out by the RCHME, now merged with English Heritage. Every certain, probable and suggested causewayed enclosure in England has been investigated through integrated aerial and field survey. Specialist reconnaissance flying has been undertaken, along with the thorough analysis of aerial photographs taken from the 1920s onwards. This has greatly increased the number of sites known, turning the spotlight onto many that have received little or no archaeological attention in the past. The aerial surveys now available offer a new basis for improved understanding. Analytical field investigations of the few causewayed enclosures that are well preserved as earthworks have also squeezed fresh information out of even those long familiar to archaeologists. Far from merely ‘dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s’ of past fieldworkers, these detailed surveys have led to the rejection of some long-held theories and the proposal of new interpretations. This book significantly advances the understanding of causewayed enclosures both as individual monuments and as a class. It is a major contribution to the understanding of the British Neolithic, and to ‘landscape archaeology’ more generally.

Author Information

Martyn Barber is a Senior Investigator, Aerial Survey & Investigation at English Heritage. He is the author of Bronze and the Bronze Age (2003), and co-author of The Neolithic Flint Mines of England (1999) and The Creation of Monuments (2001).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Half-Title Page2
Title Page3
Copyright Page183
Illustration acknowledgements8
Notes on the site plans8
Résumé 9
1. Introduction: 'New worlds' and old problems12
The Neolithic background12
Causewayed enclosures as a class of monument14
The background and aims of this book16
2. Previous research20
The idea of Stone Age 'camps'20
A Problem of recognition22
The impact of Windmill Hill26
Windmill Hill: discovery and excavation26
Understanding Windmill Hill32
Research and discovery after Windmill Hill36
Aerial survey and excavation: an abundance of data37
Changing perceptions since 1930: causewayed enclosures and the Neolithic43
3. The constructional elements46
Ditches and recutting46
Timber structures57
4. The forms of causewayed enclosures65
Classification: discerning order in diversity65
Plan forms66
Planning in relation to the topography74
Concentric circuits and their spacing78
Detecting change over time in plans86
Other monuments with causewayed ditches88
Conformity or diversity?89
5. Distribution and location in the physical landscape92
The distribution in England and the British Isles92
Causewayed enclosures on the European mainland94
Geology as a factor in the distribution95
'Tor enclosures': causewayed enclosures built in stone?96
Patterns of location in the physical landscape102
Detecting change over time in the settings of causewayed enclosures114
Visibility and vegetation115
Human geography117
6. Making sense of the human landscape118
The Mesolithic and earliest-Neolithic background118
Regionalism in the British Isles119
Pairs of causewayed enclosures?123
Regions without causewayed enclosures124
Territories: causewayed enclosures, long barrows and flint mines125
Territories: settlement, mobility and resources129
7. Uses and meanings131
The nature of the evidence131
Creation and re-creation: a function of causewayed enclosures?131
What happened inside causewayed enclosures?134
What happened outside causewayed enclosures?141
Seasonal gatherings?141
8. The afterlife of causewayed enclosures144
The end of causewayed enclosures144
A tradition of enclosures?144
The reuse of causewayed enclosures later in the Neolithic145
The reuse of causewayed enclosures in the Bronze and Iron Ages148
The historic period: causewayed enclosures come full circle156
9. Looking ahead – where next for research?158
Appendix: Gazetteer of causewayed enclosures in the United Kingdom160
List of references171