The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Littlecombe Shoot

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


The monument includes the best surviving part of a prehistoric field system, comprising a number of field banks and associated clearance cairns, all surviving as low earthworks located on a gently sloping clifftop overlooking Lyme Bay. Although not precisely dated, the fields are small and roughly square which suggests an Iron Age origin, with usage perhaps continuing into the Roman period, before the fields were encapsulated within larger medieval or post-medieval field boundaries. The fields lie just to the west of Berry Cliff Camp, a hillfort which is believed to date from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age, and the subject of a separate scheduling (SM29637). The field system is defined to the south by lynchets (field banks and scarps resulting from prehistoric cultivation techniques). These lynchets occupy a narrow strip of clifftop about 270m in length with a maximum width away from the cliff edge of about 100m. Although it is likely that the field system once extended further inland, modern farming techniques have removed all upstanding traces apart from those close to the cliff. The visible remains also include a series of scarps and banks with many of the scarps lying parallel to the cliff edge whilst the banks lie for the most part at right angles to it. Where surveyed in 1989 by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME), the banks were found to be between 2m-4.5m long and 0.5m-2m wide. Together, the banks and scarps define five or six small fields. Associated with the fields are a number of stone cairns some of which lie on the field banks. These cairns, of which there are about a dozen, are considered to be the result of field clearance and are probably contemporary with the prehistoric working of the fields; they survive as low earth covered piles of flint and stone. Previous commentators have suggested that they might be prehistoric barrows or burial mounds but there is no evidence to support this view. The prehistoric fields have been worked at later periods, perhaps into the medieval and early post-medieval periods, and incorporated into larger rectilinear fields as is evidenced by a long field bank which runs from the monument to a position to its east and a bank and ditch which clearly cuts across the earlier prehistoric field system where it survives on its western side. All fencing, gateposts, and coastal path waymarkers are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.
juamei Posted by juamei
26th January 2016ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment