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Knap Hill

Causewayed Enclosure


Details of the Neolithic causewayed enclosure on Pastscape

The site of Knap Hill, a Neolithic causewayed enclosure. It encompasses an area of circa 2.4 hectares and consists of a single circuit of sub-triangular plan, conforming to the contours of the hill and possibly incomplete on the steepest, southern side. Exceptionally compared to other enclosures, the causeways seem to correspond precisely to gaps in the bank. It is unclear if the earthworks ever formed a complete enclosure. Excavations by the Cunningtons in 1908-9 first demonstrated the causewayed nature of the earthworks, as well as recovering pottery which they felt to be Neolithic in date. Further excavations in 1961 confirmed the Cunningtons' observations. Romano-British pottery and an extended inhumation probably relates to the adjacent, later earthwork enclosure. The site and its archaeological history were re-investigated as part of the RCHME project focusing on enclosure and industry in the Neolithic period in 1995. Knap Hill was also subsequently included in a research programme into the dating of the early Neolithic causewayed enclosures of southern Britain and of Ireland. The results suggested that Knap Hill was probably constructed in the 35th century cal BC, (that is to say between 3500-4001cal BC) probably more than a century later than Windmill Hill and the West Kennet long barrow. It is unclear, however, for how long activity continued. On the basis that the ditch was left to infill naturally, that there is no sign of recutting, and because there is a scarcity of sherds and bones, a short duration, probably of well under a century and perhaps only a generation or two, is possible.
Chance Posted by Chance
23rd September 2012ce
Edited 23rd September 2012ce

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