MEM22585 - Linear earthwork of unknown date on Wintershead (Monument)


A linear feature was visible during field investigation and geophysical survey in 2012. Excavation revealed it to most likely represent a natural geomorphological feature caused by drainage run off.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A large scale metric survey of an area of earthworks on Wintershead was undertaken by Hazel Riley in 2012 as part of the Exmoor Mires Project. A linear feature was surveyed which runs west-east across the east side of the study area. It is defined by two rather indistinct but substantial scarps, marking a hollow measuring 95 metres west-east and 17 metres north-south. The scarp on the south side is the better defined and is 1 metre high; the north side is defined by a scarp 0.5 metre high at the east end of the feature. The feature is defined by a single scarp on the south at its west end. The area around the middle of the feature has been disturbed by peat cutting. This feature is difficult to interpret by the earthwork evidence only. It could be an access track to the areas of peat cutting to the north and east on Deer Park, but as it leads into the spring head mire this is unlikely. It is more likely to mark an area of uncut peat between two areas which have been worked over. The feature has also been recognised by the geophysical survey of the area [2-3], which interpreted anomalies over the west end of the feature as probable geological features. Its form may suggest a prehistoric date and consideration should be given to an interpretation as related to the class of monument identified as Neolithic long mortuary or cursus-related enclosures. [1] This feature was excavated by the Mires Project with a narrow evaluation trench (1m x 5.7m) to determine if its origin was anthropogenic and whether this could be related to nearby lithic finds. The ditch presented an asymmetric profile with a significantly steeper northern edge with a maximum depth of about 0.3m. There is no suggetion of anything other than a natural geomorphological origin and it likely originated as a draingage feature, perhaps forming in the early Holocene, following the end of the Ice Age. This trench yielded a single unstratified flint flake within its subsoil layer. [4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Report: Riley. H.. 2012. Metric survey of Wintershead, Exmoor Mires Project: Project report. 5.
  • <2> Report: Carey, C. And Ventre, H.. 2012. Wintershead Head, Exmoor: Combined earth resistance and extended gradiometer survey.
  • <3> Report: Carey, C. and Ventre, H.. 2012. Wintershead Head, Exmoor: Combined earth resistance and gradiometer survey.
  • <4> Report: Bray, L.. 2013. Excavations At Wintershead, Deer Park, Exmoor, Septermber 2013.



Grid reference Centred SS 7669 3732 (98m by 30m)
Map sheet SS73NE

Finds (1)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Mires Feature Reference (Monument) (Deer Park): EDP13(103)

Record last edited

Mar 17 2021 2:36PM


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