MSO8318 - Late prehistoric enclosure north of Hawkwell Farm (Monument)

Summary

A prehistoric hillslope enclosure on the end of a spur on Harwood Brakes. It measures 50 metres by 31 metres internally and is defined by ditches 8 metres wide and 0.8 metres deep. There are no traces of internal occupation.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A D-shaped enclosure on Harwood Brakes to the north of North Hawkwell Farm was identified from aerial photographs. [1] It is situated on the edge of a prominent scarp which drops away to the N and has extensive views to the N, E and W. The earthworks have a rounded appearance resulting from earlier ploughing, but they are still in a reasonable condition. A ditch c0.9m deep and c4-5m wide encloses an area of 55m by 35m. A later field boundary cuts through the E section of the site and to the E of this the earthwork is only partly visible as a very degraded bank. Only on the N side, where the natural slope is greatest, does there appear to be any evidence of an external bank, while in the SW corner there seem to be faint traces of an internal scarp. There are no traces of any earthworks inside the enclosure, but it is quite likely that the ploughing of the site would have disturbed any subtle features. The prominent position of this feature, together with the dimensions and overall shape, suggest that it is a prehistoric hillslope enclosure. The site has been protected from any further agricultural improvements. [2] A D-shaped enclosure on Harwood Brakes to the north of North Hawkwell Farm was surveyed by E. Dennison and V. Russett. The site is situated on the edge of a prominent scarp which drops away to north and has extensive views to the north, east and west. The site was first identified from aerial photographs. The earthworks have a rounded appearance resulting from earlier ploughing but nevertheless they are still in reasonable condition. A ditch averaging 0.9m deep and c5m wide encloses an area 55m by 35m. A later field boundary cuts through the eastern section of the site and to the east of this the earthwork is only partly visible as a very degraded bank. Only on the northern side, where the slope is greatest, does there appear to be any evidence of an external bank, while in the south-western corner there seem to be faint traces of an internal scarp. There are no traces of any earthworks inside the enclosure, but it is quite likely that the ploughing of the site would have disturbed any subtle features. The prominent position of this feature, together with the dimensions and overall shape, suggest that it is a prehistoric hillslope enclosure. The site has been protected from any further agricultural improvements. [3] It is centred at SS 9282 3999, and occupies the end of a broad ridge called Harwood Brakes. It lies within an area of ?19th Century enclosure, occupying the corner of one of these fields. It is sub-oval in shape, measuring 50 metres by 31 metres (internally), and is defined primarily by ditches 8 metres wide and 0.8 metres deep. On the northwest there is an external counterscarp, whilst on the southeast there is an internal counterscarp, which can be traced along the southwest side before fading out. A single entrance is visible roughly midway along the southeastern side, marked by a causeway 4 metres wide across the ditch. The northeastern arm of the enclosure has been obscured by a field boundary, although a pronounced drop on the eastern side of the boundary may perpetuate it. There are no traces of internal occupation, although the southwestern end appears to be slightly levelled, which may indicate a building platform here. The SMR classification as prehistoric hillslope enclosure seems correct, although two unusual factors are worth noting: firstly, it is more common for these sites to have stronger ramparts, and this might indicate that the site has been levelled or robbed (perhaps as part of later agricultural improvement); secondly its topographic position on the end of a spur is uncommon.Surveyed at 1:2500 scale, July 1997. [4] The hillslope enclosure is visible, as described above, as an earthwork on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards and has been transcribed as part of the Exmoor National Mapping Programme survey. However, it has been mislocated and is actually sited at SS 9282 4099. On the basis of the aerial photographs available to the NMP survey, little evidence for the southeastern internal counterscarp described above can be seen, although a possible external counterscarp may be visible. [5-7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. 14.
  • <2> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. E Dennison, 3 March 1989.
  • <3> Article in serial: Dennison, E. 1988. "Cutcombe, Harwood Brakes" in Dennison, E "Somerset Archaeology 1988". Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 132. 214.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. R Wilson-North and H Riley, 23 July 1997.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 4177-8 (11 April 1947).
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 9240/3(18257/12) (11 February 1999).
  • <7> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 94 SW. MD002186.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 928 409 (89m by 84m) (Centred on)
Map sheet SS94SW
Civil Parish TIMBERSCOMBE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SW38
  • National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1086690
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34132
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34599

Record last edited

Jul 28 2020 9:23PM

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