Information for record number MWA4280:
Pit Alignment and cursus at The Barbellows

Summary The site of a Prehistoric pit alignment and a possible cursus monument. They are visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs. The pit alignment and cursus are located 600m north west of Knightlow Hill.
What Is It?  
Type: Pit Alignment, Cursus
Period: Neolithic (4000 BC - 2201 BC)
Where Is It?  
Parish: Ryton on Dunsmore
District: Rugby, Warwickshire
Grid Reference: SP 40 74
(Data represented on this map shows the current selected record as a single point, this is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent an accurate or complete representation of archaeological sites or features)
Level of Protection National - Old SMR PrefRef (Grade: )
Scheduled Monument (Grade: )
Sites & Monuments Record
Picture(s) attached


Source Number  

2 A number of linear crop marks and pit alignments show on aerial photographs running in various directions.
3 It was reported that part of this cropmark complex is recorded as a possible cursus monument in Roy Loveday's (1985) thesis on cursus monuments. The AP SP4074G does show a faint rectilinear cropmark which may represent the remains of a cursus.
4 These cropmarks have been plotted at 1:2500 scale for an SMC application by East Midlands Electricity.
5 The worked carried by East Midlands Electricity on overhead cables did not disturb any archaeological deposits.
6 Following unauthorised ploughing in the Scheduled area, an evaluation was carried out in 1998 in order to establish the extent of any damage to the monument. One of the pits of the alignment and two associated gullies were located. It was established that no damage had occurred. The pit was 0.3m deep and the gullies, whilst of an Iron Age date may not necessarily completely respect the alignment.
7 New scheduling information. SAM No. 33149 (was 153).
8 Trial trenching in advance of two lots of new buildings revealed the remnant of a former plough soil, modern land drains and modern finds.
9 Date of the pit alignment narrowed down to between the late Bronze Age and the late Iron Age.

Source No: 1
Source Type: Aerial Photograph
Author/originator: J Pickering
Date: 1962
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: SP4489 C/D/E/X
Source No: 8
Source Type: Archaeological Report
Title: Ryton Organic Gardens, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Rugby
Author/originator: Oxford Archaeological Unit
Date: 2002
Page Number:
Source No: 4
Source Type: Aerial Photograph Transcript
Title: Monks Kirby parish
Author/originator: ARI
Date: 1992
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: Monks Kirby Parish
Source No: 3
Source Type: Correspondence
Title: Pit alignment and cursus monument, Ryton on Dunsmore
Author/originator: J Harding
Date: 1991
Page Number:
Source No: 6
Source Type: Evaluation Report
Title: Archaeological Evaluation at Barbellows Farm, Ryton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire
Author/originator: Jones C
Date: 1998
Page Number:
Source No: 5
Source Type: Observation Report
Title: Archaeological Observations at Barbellows Farm, Wolston Grounds, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwickshire
Author/originator: Warwickshire Museum
Date: 1993
Page Number:
Source No: 7
Source Type: Scheduling record
Title: Prehistoric pit alignments and associated features 160m north of The Barbellows
Author/originator: English Heritage
Date: 2001
Page Number:
Source No: 9
Source Type: Verbal communication
Title: Aggregates Assessment
Author/originator: Stuart Palmer
Date: 2006
Page Number:
Source No: 2
Source Type: Verbal communication
Title: R.C.Hingley personal comment
Author/originator: Hingley R C
Date: 1989
Page Number:
A Prehistoric pit alignment and possible cursus monument north west of Knightlow Hill
Copyright: WA Baker
Date: 1962
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Word or Phrase
none Scheduled Monument Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) are those archaeological sites which are legally recognised as being of national importance. They can range in date from prehistoric times to the Cold War period. They can take many different forms, including disused buildings or sites surviving as earthworks or cropmarks.

SAMs are protected by law from unlicensed disturbance and metal detecting. Written consent from the Secretary of State must be obtained before any sort of work can begin, including archaeological work such as geophysical survey or archaeological excavation. There are nearly 200 SAMs in Warwickshire.
technique Cropmark Cropmarks appear as light and dark marks in growing and ripening crops. These marks relate to differences in the soil below. For example, parched lines of grass may indicate stone walls. Crops that grow over stone features often ripen more quickly and are shorter than the surrounding crop. This is because there is less moisture in the soil where the wall lies.

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technique Aerial Photograph Aerial photographs are taken during an aerial survey, which involves looking at the ground from above. It is usually easier to see cropmarks and earthworks when they are viewed from above. Aerial photographs help archaeologists to record what they see and to identify new sites. There are two kinds of aerial photographs; oblique and vertical. back
period Modern The Modern Period, about 1915 AD to the present (the 20th and 21st centuries AD)

In recent years archaeologists have realised the importance of recording modern sites. They do this so that in the future people will be able to look at the remains to help them understand the events to which they are related.
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period Prehistoric About 500,000 BC to 42 AD

The Prehistoric period covers all the periods from the Palaeolithic to the end of the Iron Age.
This is a time when people did not write anything down so there is no documentary evidence for archaeologists to look at. Instead, the archaeologists look at the material culture belonging to the people and the places where they lived for clues about their way of life.

The Prehistoric period is divided into the Early Prehistoric and Later Prehistoric.
The Early Prehistoric period covers the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods.
The Later Prehistoric period covers Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age times.
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period Neolithic About 4000 BC to 2351 BC

The word ‘Neolithic’ means ‘New Stone Age’. Archaeologists split up the Neolithic period into three phases; early, middle and late. The Neolithic period comes after the Mesolithic period and before the Bronze Age.

People in the Neolithic period hunted and gathered food as their ancestors had but they were also began to farm. They kept animals and grew crops. This meant that they were able to settle more permanently in one location instead of constantly moving from place to place to look for food.
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period Bronze Age About 2500 BC to 700 BC

The Bronze Age comes after the Neolithic period and before the Iron Age.

The day to day life of people in the Bronze Age probably changed little from how their ancestors had lived during the Neolithic period. They still lived in farmsteads, growing crops and rearing animals.

During the Bronze Age people discovered how to use bronze, an alloy of tin and copper (hence the name that has given to this era). They used it to make their tools and other objects, although they continued to use flint and a range of organic materials as well. A range of bronze axes, palstaves and spears has been found in Warwickshire.
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period Iron Age About 800 BC to 43 AD

The Iron Age comes after the Bronze Age and before the Roman period. It is a time when people developed the skills and knowledge to work and use iron, hence the name ‘Iron Age’ which is given to this period. Iron is a much tougher and more durable metal than bronze but it also requires more skill to make objects from it. People continued to use bronze during this period.
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period modern About 1915 AD to the present (the 20th and 21st centuries AD)

In recent years archaeologists have realised the importance of recording modern sites. They do this so that in the future people will be able to look at the remains to help them understand the events to which they are related.
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monument SITE * Unclassifiable site with minimal information. Specify site type wherever possible. back
monument BUILDING * A structure with a roof to provide shelter from the weather for occupants or contents. Use specific type where known. back
monument FEATURE * Areas of indeterminate function. back
monument DRAIN * An artificial channel for draining water or carrying it off. back
monument CURSUS * A long narrow rectangular earthwork enclosure of Neolithic date, usually defined by a bank and ditch and presumed to be of ceremonial function. Known examples range in length from less than 100m to c.10km. back
monument PIT * A hole or cavity in the ground, either natural or the result of excavation. Use more specific type where known. back
monument PIT ALIGNMENT * A single line, or pair of roughly parallel lines, of pits set at intervals along a common axis or series of axes. The pits are not thought to have held posts. back
monument GARDEN * An enclosed piece of ground devoted to the cultivation of flowers, fruit or vegetables and/or recreational purposes. Use more specific type where known. back
monument FARM * A tract of land, often including a farmhouse and ancillary buildings, used for the purpose of cultivation and the rearing of livestock, etc. Use more specific type where known. back

* Copyright of English Heritage (1999)

English Heritage National Monuments Record