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Corntown Enclosure

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Map ReferenceSS97NW
Grid ReferenceSS9261876427
Unitary (Local) AuthorityThe Vale of Glamorgan
Old CountyGlamorgan
1. Cropmark of double-concentric enclosure. Site originally recognised in 1976 when a lithic scatter was identified by Gareth Dowdell. Subsequent walking over a number of years by Steve Sell and Gerald Gregory has shown the site to cover an area of approximately 200m in diameter (information from GGAT and NMW).

2. Remains of a causewayed enclosure, dating to the Neolithic period, visible as a cropmark in a field under arable cultivation and compromises multiple rings of interrupted ditches. A large assemblage of Neolithic worked flint has been recovered from the area of the site. The scheduled area is a rectangle measuring up to 340m from NNW to SSE by up to 270m transversely.
Source: Cadw scheduling description. 09.12.2004 FF

3. The enclosure, as revealed by aerial photography, is obscured in places by washes of alluvium and cracks in the underlying limestone. For this reason, the RCAHMW air photo transcription is most reliable as a record of the southern half of the site (see Figure 4 and 5). There appear to be three sets of ditches. The inner enclosure, 127m x 150m, is egg-shaped and defined by a narrow ditch, possibly a palisade trench. There is a space of about 33m before the middle concentric enclosure about 199m x 218m, which has a possible entrance gap to the south-west. The outer concentric circuit, measuring about 283m NW / SE, is set a further 32m away. Many pits occur across the site, as at Norton, but may date from any period. It is situated on the northern slope of a low east - west ridge. To the south of the enclosure the landscape consists of gently undulating hills, whilst to the north the land drops away, offering commanding views across the lowlands of the Ogmore valley. It seems highly likely that the enclosure was constructed with this in mind.

The lithic assemblage from the site consists of 2,866 pieces weighing a total of 3.24kg. With the exception of one piece of chert, the entire assemblage is of flint. Lack of available time and resources during fieldwalking have prevented the detailed plotting of finds from the site which must, unfortunately, be considered as a single unit.

Only three diagnostic Mesolithic pieces has been recovered from the site (one microlith, one microlith fragment, and a microburin). Similarly the presence of only one oblique arrowhead and no diagnostically later pieces within the assemblage suggests that little if any of the collection is of later Neolithic or Bronze Age date. All the remaining chronologically specific material - such as leaf-shaped arrowheads (thirty examples), and flakes from polished artefacts (eight examples, probably from axes) - can be dated to the earlier Neolithic. It therefore seems reasonable to assume that the vast majority of material found at Corntown belongs to this period (lithic information from NMW).

Published in:
Burrow, S, Driver, T and Thomas, D, 2001, Bridging the Severn Estuary: two possible earlier Neolithic enclosures in the Vale of Glamorgan', in: T Darvill and J Thomas (eds.) Neolithic Enclosures in Atlantic Northwest Europe, Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Papers 6, Oxbow Books.

T. Driver, RCAHMW, 11 July 2008.