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Historic England Research Records

Rybury Causewayed Enclosure

Hob Uid: 216031
Location :
Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Allcannings
Grid Ref : SU0847063720
Summary : The Rybury causewayed enclosure survives as earthworks. It has an approximate area of 2 hectares and is obscured by an Iron Age hillfort, beyond which the eastern part of the circuit extends as a well preserved earthwork, with an apparently continuous bank and a segmented ditch. It consists of a single circuit encircling the summit of the spur except to the north where it dips down the slope. A continuous bank with a clearly causewayed ditch 150 metres to the south may be contemporary. It remains unexcavated save for a single trench cut by Desmond Bonney in 1963. The ditch was flat-bottomed and 2 metres deep. Over 600 waste flint flakes were found throughout, but no worked implements. A few teeth and fragments of bone were also retrieved. Sherds from a single decorated Neolithic Bowl which had eroded from above the inner edge of the southern section of the hillfort ditch were also found.
More information : (SU 08326397) Rybury Camp (NR). (1)

Rybury Camp. A Neolithic causewayed enclosure whose complete plan is uncertain, with an Iron Age hill-fort superimposed. The interior is extensively disturbed by chalk pits. The segmented Neolithic ditch which emerges as an arc from beneath the hill-fort rampart at the east appears to continue upwards to curve round the summit of the knoll inside the west rampart. Outwork 240 yards to the south, comprises a segmented ditch, roughly semi-circular in plan, set round the outer side of a smaller knoll. Much disturbed by chalk digging, Curwen suggests it is Neolithic also. A trial trench cut by D J Bonney in 1963, for RCHM, in the outer ditch of the earlier earthwork yielded over 600 flint flakes but no worked implements, and a few teeth and bones.
In 1964 and 1967 Neolithic sherds, including an example of the Abingdon type of Windmill Hill ware were found by Mrs R Kennard. They are now in Devizes Museum. (Acc No 25/67). (2-6)

The earthworks at Rybury comprise three concentric enclosures on a hilltop and a scarped rampart and ditch straddling an approach ridge to the SW.
SU 08326395: The three concentric enclosures consist of an unfinished univallate enclosure of IA settlement type, overlying a "two ring" Neolithic causewayed camp.
The two oval enclosures of the causewayed camp are approximately 180.0m long N-S by 160.0m, and 130.0m N-S by 100.0m overall respectively. The inner enclosure comprises a bank up to 1.0m high, destroyed in the N and S by modern quarrying which also precludes the positive identification of causeways.
The outer enclosure survives as a scarp slope up to 2.3m high with an outer ditch 0.2m deep and 3.0m wide, cut by causeways which are particularly noticeable in the NE. This outer enclosure is overlaid by the later IA settlement on all but its NE side.
The IA enclosure comprises a ditch, averaging 1.5m deep, with an outer counterscarp bank rising 1.1m above it. The enclosure is 190.0m long N-S by about 150.0m overall, with a simple break in the S, Probably indicating the original entrance. Although the SE section of the enclosure is severely mutilated by modern quarrying the ditch is clearly incomplete, with several gang-work type banks still crossing it. These are particularly noticeable in the E. SU 08476372: To the SE of the main causewayed camp, a roughly 'L' shaped scarp, 2.2m high, with an outer causewayed ditch, 0.2m deep, has N and W arms 40.0m and 60.0m long respectively. It is situated in an easily defended position on a ridge approaching the main camp. There is no evidence to suggest that this feature was ever a complete enclosure, and it is possibly an unfinished outer work to the IA settlement.
Resurveyed at 1:2500, utilizing RCHM plan at 1:1250. (7-8)

The site was surveyed by RCHME during the 1960's, prior to the small scale excavations carried out by Desmond Bonney in 1963. For further information see archive report (9).

In 1995, RCHME carried out an analytical earthwork survey of the site, as part of a national project to record industry and enclosure in the Neolithic period. The overlying Iron Age hillfort and presumed Post Medieval chalk or flint extraction pits were allocated new NMR numbers (respectively SU 06 SE 63 and 64), to enhance the record.
The causewayed enclosure is essentially as described by previous sources. It seems to have comprised two circuits of bank and ditch, both causewayed, enclosing an area of c. The earthworks are most difficult to trace on the south-west, where they are overlain by the later hillfort and damaged by the post-medieval quarrying.
For further information, see Level 3 archive report and earthwork plan at 1:1000 scale, held in the Archive. A number of colour photographs were taken, subsequent to the field survey, but as part of the same project; these are also available through the Archive. (10)

Additional reference. (11)

The Neolithic causewayed enclosure, described by the previous authorities, has also been mapped, at 1:10,000 scale, from aerial photographs. The site has been photographed numerous times from the 1920s to the 1990s. (12-16)

Rybury causewayed enclosure was included in a research programme into the dating of the early Neolithic causewayed enclosures of southern Britain and of Ireland, using chronological estimates produced by Bayesian statistical analysis of radiocarbon dates. It has an approximate area of 2 hectares and is obscured by an Iron Age hillfort, beyond which the eastern part of the circuit extends as a well preserved earthwork, with an apparently continuous bank and a segmented ditch. It consists of a single circuit encircling the summit of the spur except to the north where it dips down the slope. A continuous bank with a clearly causewayed ditch 150 metres to the south may be contemporary. Sherds from a single decorated Neolithic bowl which had eroded from above the inner edge of the southern section of the hillfort ditch were also found. (17)

Scheduled. The designated record of the causewayed enclosure can be accessed online from the National Heritage List for England. (18-19

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1961
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Source Number : 2
Source : Antiquity
Source details : Curwen, EC. Neolithic Camps (pp38-40)
Page(s) : 22-54
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 4, 1930
Source Number : 11
Source : A history of Wiltshire: volume 1, part 1
Source details : Grinsell, L. Archaeological Gazetteer.
Page(s) : 23
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Source Number : 12
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SU0864/7 (ALK 7437/281) 15-JUL-1924
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Source Number : 13
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 540/958 3206-7 01-DEC-1952
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Source Number : 14
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SU0863/7 (WAP 11710/6 (AK 963/2)) 29-JAN-1974
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Source Number : 15
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SU0864/24 (4812/49) 19-MAR-1993
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Source Number : 16
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SU0863/49 (4791/35) 19-MAR-1993
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Source Number : 17
Source : Gathering Time: Dating the Early Neolithic Enclosures of Southern Britain and Ireland
Source details : Chapter 3.3, Rybury.
Page(s) : 102-103
Figs. : 3.27
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Vol(s) : 1
Source Number : 18
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : Scheduling date not available
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Source Number : 19
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : English Heritage 2011, The National Heritage List for England, [Accessed 14-JUL-2011]
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Source : Rybury Camp (1960s)/pencil survey
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Source Number : 3
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : Excavations and fieldwork in Wiltshire 1963: Rybury Camp, by D Bonney
Page(s) : 185
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Vol(s) : 59, 1964
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Source : Rybury Camp (1995)/ink survey
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Source : SU 06 SE 14 (1973)
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Source : Rybury Camp (1995)/pencil survey
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Source : Rybury Camp/pencil profile
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Source Number : 4
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : Smith, IF. Neolithic pottery from Rybury Camp
Page(s) : 127
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Vol(s) : 60, 1965
Source Number : 5
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : Accessions to the museum
Page(s) : 118
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Vol(s) : 63, 1968
Source Number : 6
Source : Economy and settlement in Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Britain and Europe; papers delivered at a conference held in the University of Leicester, December 1969
Source details : Smith, IF. Causewayed Enclosures (p109-110)
Page(s) : 89-112
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : RCHM plan at 1250 scale.
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Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 MHB 31-OCT-73
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Source Number : 9
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : RCHME Field Investigation 1960s DJ Bonney
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Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : RCHME: Industry and Enclosure in the Neolithic: Rybury Camp Survey
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Monument Types:
Components and Objects:
Period : Early Neolithic
Component Monument Type : Causewayed Enclosure, Cross Dyke
Object Type : LITHIC IMPLEMENT, DEBITAGE, ANIMAL REMAINS, VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : WI 32
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Wiltshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 100/202
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : AF0888267
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : AF1086632
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : AF1163501
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1005695
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 06 SE 14
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1093453
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1093452
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1011298
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 06 SE 14
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1960-01-01
End Date : 1969-12-31
Associated Activities : RYBURY CAMP
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1963-01-01
End Date : 1963-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 06 SE 14
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1973-10-31
End Date : 1973-10-31
Associated Activities : RCHME: INDUSTRY AND ENCLOSURE IN THE NEOLITHIC: RYBURY CAMP SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1995-06-05
End Date : 1995-06-09
Associated Activities : RCHME: AVEBURY WORLD HERITAGE SITE PROJECT
Activity type : FIELD SURVEY
Start Date : 1997-08-01
End Date : 1998-12-01