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BANC DU CAUSEWAYED ENCLOSURE, NEW INN

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 308024

Map Reference SN03SE

Grid Reference SN06123065

Unitary (Local) Authority Pembrokeshire

Old County Pembrokeshire

Community Puncheston

Type of Site CAUSEWAYED ENCLOSURE, ENCLOSURE

Broad Class DEFENCE

Period Neolithic, Prehistoric

Site Description Banc Du is the first confirmed Neolithic enclosure in Wales. It is a hilltop enclosure situated on a fairly level rounded summit (330m OD) and built against a steep natural ridge to the east. It was discovered during RCAHMW aerial reconnaissance in 1990 by Chris Musson, and referred to the SPACES team for further investigation in 2002 by Toby Driver following new aerial reconnaissance which showed an interrupted defensive circuit.

The enclosure comprises of two elements, an oval smaller inner circuit roughly 200m x 150m, (possibly an earlier phase), with an enlarged accreted outer enclosure to the northwest, measuring 300m NW/SE by 230m SW/NE overall. The defences survive in earthwork form comprising a single rampart where they traverse the relatively flat summit of the hill on the north and west sides, and a double rampart, created through the scarping of the natural slope on the south and east sides. Sections of the bank on the north and west sides survive to a height of between 0.1 and 0.3m with traces of a slight external ditch more prominent on the outer enclosure, following its later use as a hollow-way. The ramparts on the south and east side stand between 0.2 and 1.5m in height, with those on the north-eastern edge enhanced by the dumping of material which looks to have occurred in relatively recent times.

A later field system, most likely of medieval/post-medieval date overlies the enclosure (NPRN 114214) with traces of ridge and furrow ploughing crossing much of the enclosures interior, in some areas using the ramparts as boundaries, but in others cutting across them.

In general the defences appear irregular, partly interrupted, and not characteristic of the Iron Age hillforts of the region. In 2005, a ditch section was excavated by the SPACES team and radiocarbon dates from the initial silts which accumulated in the ditch show that it was open around 3650 BC, during the Neolithic. The rampart was originally well built, with a stone-walled outer faced and timber posts behind. This is the first dated Neolithic enclosure in Wales.

A detailed archaeological survey of the enclosure and surrounding landscape at a scale of 1:1000 was carried out by the RCAHMW in January 2005.

RCAHMW AP965080/48-50
Visited by LB, DJP, DKL Jan 2005

Article: Darvill, T., Wainwright, G. and Driver, T. 2007. Among Tombs and Stone Circles on Banc Du, British Archaeology, January February 2007, 26-29.
See also: Driver, T. 2007. Pembrokeshire: Historic Landscapes from the Air, RCAHMW, pp.132-3.

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Associated Sites