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Historic England Research Records

Angle Ditch

Hob Uid: 213495
Location :
Sixpenny Handley and Pentridge
Grid Ref : SU0112017250
Summary : A length of ditch of Middle Bronze Age date discovered and excavated in October 1893 by Pitt Rivers. The ditch runs for a total length of 68.6 metres, and includes a near right-angled turn. Prior to excavation, the site had not been visible as a surface feature. The ditch averaged 2 metres in depth. No trace of an accompanying bank was observed. Area excavations failed to idnetify any post-built structures associated with the ditch. However, this was also the case at nearby South Lodge (ST 91 NE 9), where Pitt-Rivers and his labourers largely failed to notice structures which only came to light during re-excavation in the late 1970s by Barrett and Bradley. It seems likely therefore that the Angle Ditch represents either a partially enclosed settlement, or a partially ditched enclosure (see, for example, the nearby Down Farm enclosure SU 01 SW 84). Like South Lodge, the ditch appears to run around the corner of an earlier field plot (integrated within field system SU 01 NW 71). Pitt Rivers' surface trenching recovered pottery and flint in variable quantities across the area examined, including some notable concentrations. The ditch also contained pottery, metalwork and other finds of Middle Bronze Age date. The upper fill of the ditch included some Roman pottery, and Roman sherds also occurred in a surface scatter in the vicinity. The Angle Ditch itself is also cut by a later ditch which also appears to form part of a larger irregular enclosure surrounding Wor Barrow (SU 01 NW 14) and a couple of round barrows (SU 01 NW 13 and 15). The purpose of this larger enclosure appears to have been to demarcate an unploughed area around Wor Barrow.
More information : (27) Bronze Age ditch, known as the Angle Ditch and
probably part of an occupation site, lies on the summit of
Handley Down (01171730), some 200 ft. W. of Wor Barrow (29).
Not visible as a surface feature, it was discovered by bosing
and was excavated by General Pitt-Rivers. It lies in an area of
'Celtic' fields (Group (85), p. 118), now heavily ploughed, and
appears to be integrated with their pattern. The ditch, 6 1/2 ft.
deep, 7 1/2ft. wide at the top and 1ft. wide at the bottom,
followed an irregular line for 165 ft. from S.W. to N.E. then
turned at right-angles towards the S.E. and continued for a
further 60 ft. Finds from the lower filling of the ditch indicate
a date in the later Bronze Age; they include parts of a looped
palstave and of a class-II razor, a bronze awl, a sandstone
grain-rubber, a complete barrel urn and fragments of others
and a fragment of a globular urn. Possibly the ditch formed part
of a roughly rectangular enclosure with braod gaps in its side,
like that on Martin Down, Hants, also exavated by Pitt-Rivers and
found to be of comparable date (Excavations IV (1898), 185-214).
That the Angle Ditch had already been obscured by ploughing in
the Roman period is clear from the quantity of later pottery,
especially Romano-British wares, found in its upper filling and
as a surface scatter around it.

Pitt-River's excavation also revealed a shallow ditch, 3 ft.
wide and 1 1/2 ft. deep, which ran for over 450 ft. from N.N.W.
to S.S.E. across the site and was apparently cut by the Angle
Ditch. Its position and its apparent relationship with the 'Celtic'
fields immediately to the W. suggest that it may have served to
separate those fields from an uncultivated area surrounding Wor
Barrow, rather than as a drain, as suggested by Pitt-Rivers.
Finds from the excavation are in the Pitt-Rivers Museum at
Farnham. (Pitt-Rivers, Excavations IV (1898), 58-61, 102-113;
Dorcest Procs., 46(1925), 92-3; Arch. J., CXIX (1962), 54, 56.). (1)

Plan of the enclosure. (2)

The site was visited by MPPA (undated). In view of the apparent incomplete nature of the site, the limited understanding of the monument and the extensive degradation of the site by ploughing, it was not recommended for scheduling. Ground photo with archive report. (6)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Dorset. Volume five : east Dorset
Source details :
Page(s) : 70-1
Figs. :
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Source Number : 2
Source : Landscape, monuments and society : the prehistory of Cranborne Chase
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Plates :
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Source Number : 3
Source : The archaeology of Bokerley Dyke
Source details :
Page(s) : 51-2
Figs. : PLAN 3
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Excavations in Cranborne Chase near Rushmore, on the borders of Dorset and Wilts, 1893-1896. Vol.IV : [South Lodge Camp, Rushmore Park; Handley Hill entrenchment; Stone and Bronze Age barrows and camp, Handley, Dorset; Martin Down camp..]
Source details :
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Source Number : 5
Source : English Heritage Alternative Action Report
Source details : Anon, undated
Page(s) :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Middle Bronze Age
Display Date : Middle Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -1200
Monument Start Date : -1600
Monument Type : Ditch, Enclosure
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Later Prehistoric
Display Date : Later Prehistoric
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -4000
Monument Type : Enclosure
Evidence : Cropmark
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Middle Bronze Age
Component Monument Type : Ditch, Enclosure
Object Material : Bronze, Pottery
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Dorset)
External Cross Reference Number : 27
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Dorset)
External Cross Reference Number : 3020-27
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 01 NW 12
External Cross Reference Notes :

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Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, ANGLE DITCH
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1896-01-01
End Date : 1896-12-31