The Circular Enclosures

Geophysics Syrvey of the Circular Enclosures

Geophysics Survey of the Circular Enclosures

The largest enclosure measures around 57 metres in diameter and is defined by a ditch some 5 metres wide. Geophysics has indicated the former presence of an internal bank. Both aerial photography and geophysics have confirmed the presence of internal circular ditched features, plus a number of other anomalies that may represent pits or post settings. The use of geophysics is particularly valuable here as some of the features could not be regarded as definitely of archaeological origin on the basis of the cropmarks alone.

Interestingly, this large enclosure lies on a slope – facing roughly southeast. Immediately next to it, lying on the flatter, higher ground is a smaller enclosure which was difficult to see clearly on the aerial photographs. However, geophysics has confirmed the presence of a substantial negative feature – a sizeable pit of unknown depth – within it as well as other pits or large post holes.

It is not easy to point to clear parallels for these sites, although there are some resemblances with known sites elsewhere. However, a date somewhere in the later part of the Neolithic or earlier Bronze Age – circa 3000 BC to 1800 BC – seems a plausible estimate.The larger enclosure in particular may well have been a place for ceremonies and gatherings, perhaps attracting people from a some distance.

The circle plus U-shaped extension to the north-east of these two enclosures is even harder to find parallels for. The nature of the cropmarks and geophysics suggest a strong possibility of large pits or post holes rather than ditches, and the monument may have been built up over several phases. Again, ceremonial use rather than funerary seems plausible, but at this stage is little more than speculation.