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).