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Historic England Research Records

Robin Hoods Ball Causewayed Enclosure

Hob Uid: 218882
Location :
Wiltshire
Figheldean, Shrewton
Grid Ref : SU1022045940
Summary : An Early Neolithic causewayed enclosure known as Robin Hood's Ball. It is an earthwork comprising two circuits of bank and ditch, enclosing an area of circa 3.5 hectares. The site has seen two small-scale excavations, one in 1956 and the other in 1983. The earthworks were surveyed by RCHME staff as part of the Salisbury Plain Training Area Project, and the site has also been reconsidered as part of the Industry and Enclosure in the Neolithic Project. The earthworks are best preserved on the west, the eastern side having suffered badly from ploughing. The circuits are 30-40 metres apart, both circuits comprise causewayed ditches with almost continuous internal banks. The inner is roughly circular and its south-east side is slightly flattened. The outer circuit, which encloses is exceptionally angular in plan, perhaps reflecting disjunctures in construction, and the west side has indications of a possible outwork or horn. On the southwest, the outer bank is obscured by the earthworks of disused rifle butts. The 1956 excavation comprised a single cutting through each circuit, and recovered Neolithic pottery and flints, plus Romano-British and Medieval sherds. The old surface below the outer rampart was associated with pottery, flints, animal bones, charcoal and a post hole, suggesting considerable activity prior to the outer circuit being constructed. In 1983, a flint scatter 30 metres outside the outer ditch was sampled by excavation, which recovered over 200 worked flints. A cluster of shallow pits containing Early Neolithic pottery and animal bone, the latter yielding mid-to-late 4th millennium BC radiocarbon dates, was also found. Further fieldwalking in the area was undertaken in 1995. The earthwork remains of this site were also mapped from aerial photographs. Recent research into the dating of causewayed enclosures tentatively suggests that the inner ditch at Robin Hood's Ball was constructed probably in 3635-3570 cal BC.
More information : (SU 10234596) Neolithic Camp (AT). (1)

Robin Hood's Ball is a Neolithic causewayed camp of irregular shape having two banks and ditches enclosing 7 1/2 acres. The inner enclosure is much more regular in shape than the other and has been more nearly levelled. On the north and west sides the ditch is still fairly prominent, with a surface width of 30-40 ft. It is interrupted in this section by at least six causeways. Along the north side the bank is also visible, having a maximum height of 18". It does not appear to be interrupted by gaps corresponding with those across the ditch. At SU 10214603, a possible barrow (SU 14 NW 68) overlies the bank of the outer enclosure. A small excavation in 1956 revealed Neolithic, Romano-British and Mediaeval sherds, about 230 in total. Most of the finds are in the Salisbury Museum. A small type-series of potsherds is in Devizes Museum. (See plan). (2)

"Robin Hood's Ball", the Neolithic camp, is poorly defined and except for the intermittently causewayed ditch on the north which is up to 0.8m deep the scarps nowhere exceed 0.4m.high. It is under rough pasture and that it has suffered only minor damage from army vehicles is fortuitous since a single military 'antiquity star' gives no idea of the extent of the earthwork.

1:2500 survey based upon 1:1250 plan by RCHM. (3)

A flint scatter was identified 30m beyond the ditch of the causewayed enclosure during fieldwalking, which was carried out as part of the Stonehenge Environs Project. Excavations produced over 200 flint scrapers, leaf-shaped arrowheads and worked flint. A cluster of shallow pits containing Early Neolithic pottery and animal bone was also recorded. The animal bone gave radiocarbon dates 3640-3370 BC (OxA 1400) and 3361-3039 BC (OxA 1401). (4)

This causewayed enclosure was surveyed at 1:1000 by RCHME field staff as part of the SPTA Project (see archive report for further details). It consists of two circuits of causewayed banks and ditches, enclosing altogether some 3ha. These are best preserved in the W, the E part even in Hoare's day having been badly ploughed. Neither of the enclosures is circular, and strictly speaking they are not concentric, both being of different shapes.
The inner circuit encloses 1ha, and at least 15 causeways can still be identified in the ditch, but there are no corresponding gaps in the bank. The outer circuit forms an irregular pentagon, the bank being more prominent than that of the inner enclosure. Some 22 causeways can be seen across the ditch, and again there are no corresponding causeways in the bank. (5)

The faint earthwork/cropmark remains of the Neolithic causewayed enclosure described by the previous authorities were seen centred at SU 1022 4595. The site was mapped from aerial photographs at 1:10,000 scale as part of the RCHME: Salisbury Plain Training Area NMP project, and subsequently revised for the English Heritage Stonehenge WHS Mapping Project. (6-9)

Recent research into the dating of causewayed enclosures tentatively suggests that the inner ditch at Robin Hood's Ball was constructed probably in 3635-3570 cal BC. For a full description and analysis of the site see the full publication. (10)

Scheduled. The designated record of the causewayed enclosure can be accessed online from the National Heritage List for England. (11-12)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1961.
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : Thomas, N. The Neolithic Causewayed Camp at Robin Hood's Ball, Shrewton.
Page(s) : Jan-27
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Vol(s) : 59, 1964
Source Number : 11
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : First scheduled 29-Jul-1965, latest amendment 31-Jan-1990
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Source Number : 12
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 : SU 14 NW 3 (1970)
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Source : Robin Hood's Ball, causewayed enclosure/pencil survey
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Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 NVQ 09-JUN-70
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Source Number : 4
Source : The Stonehenge Environs Project
Source details :
Page(s) : 61-65
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Vol(s) : 16
Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : D Field, G. Brown/1-2-95/RCHME:SPTA Project
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Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Harding, P, N Wells and C Ellis. 1995. Archaeological Recording at Robin Hood's Ball, Wiltshire [Wessex Archaeology: site code 39756].
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : USAF 7PH/GPLOC122 1116 24-DEC-1943
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Source Number : 8
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : NMR OS/70067 291-292 03-MAY-1970
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Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : NMR SU 1045/24-28 (18220/28-32) 20-DEC-1998
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Source Number : 10
Source : Gathering Time: Dating the Early Neolithic Enclosures of Southern Britain and Ireland
Source details : Cahapter 4.4, Robin Hood's Ball
Page(s) : 194-202
Figs. : 4.49-4.51
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Neolithic
Display Date : Built 3635-3570 cal BC
Monument End Date : -3570
Monument Start Date : -3635
Monument Type : Causewayed Enclosure
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Early Neolithic
Display Date : Early Neolithic
Monument End Date : -3300
Monument Start Date : -4000
Monument Type : Causewayed Enclosure, Pit, Post Hole, Lithic Scatter
Evidence : Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit, Find
Monument Period Name : Bronze Age
Display Date : Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -700
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Lithic Scatter
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : Early 20th Century
Monument End Date : 1930
Monument Start Date : 1920
Monument Type : Rifle Butts
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Period : Early Neolithic
Component Monument Type : Causewayed Enclosure, Pit, Post Hole, Lithic Scatter
Object Type : SCRAPER (TOOL), LEAF ARROWHEAD, VESSEL, ANIMAL REMAINS, BURNT FLINT
Object Material : Pottery, Flint
Period : Bronze Age
Component Monument Type : Lithic Scatter
Object Type : LITHIC IMPLEMENT, VESSEL
Object Material : Flint, Pottery
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Medieval
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Wiltshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 100/300/450
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : WI 780
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Wiltshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SU14NW100
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Wiltshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SU14NW300
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Wiltshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SU14NW450
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : MORPH2
External Cross Reference Number : SP.763.7
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 10120
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1009593
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 14 NW 3
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: SALISBURY PLAIN TRAINING AREA
Activity type : FIELD SURVEY
Start Date :
End Date :
Associated Activities : Primary, ROBIN HOODS BALL CLUMP
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1956-01-01
End Date : 1956-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 14 NW 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1970-06-09
End Date : 1970-06-09
Associated Activities : Primary, ROBIN HOOD'S BALL (STONEHENGE ENVIRONS PROJECT)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1983-01-01
End Date : 1983-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ROBIN HOOD'S BALL
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1984-01-01
End Date : 1984-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: SALISBURY PLAIN TRAINING AREA NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1994-12-01
End Date : 1995-08-01
Associated Activities : Primary, ROBIN HOODS BALL
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1995-01-01
End Date : 1995-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ROBIN HOODS BALL
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2001-01-01
End Date : 2001-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: STONEHENGE WHS MAPPING PROJECT NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2001-02-01
End Date : 2001-07-01