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HER No.:1992
Type of Record:Monument


A linear earthwork, indicating an Iron Age boundary in the form of a bank and ditch, interpreted as the eastern limit of a territory of which the western limit is marked by Drays Ditches (HER113). A brooch found on the top of the bank is dated to the Claudian period, a few years either side of 42 AD.

Grid Reference:TL 115 291
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Full Description

<1> Royal Archaeological Institute, Archaeological Journal, Vol 41, 1961, pp 32-43 (Dyer) (Article in serial). SBD10785.

New earthwork discovered at TL 113 293 - TL 119 290 - bank with ditch on NE side. Icknield Way crosses 20 yards south of present end = County boundary.
= Easter limit of territory [of which west limit is marked by Drays Ditches, SMR 113]. Guarded by Sharpenhow Clappers hillfort. System of refortification of Southern 2nd A against southern 2nd B.

<2> Mrs H Rollaston, 1971, Prehistoric Agriculture in South Bedfordshire, p 61 (Unpublished document). SBD10942.

"On the other side of the track is an Iron Age boundary ditch and bank, still 4'6" deep and 12' high respectively. Sometimes these dykes divide arable from pasture land but the consideable size of this appears to suggest the more important function of boundary protection.

<3> Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Archaeology Record Cards, OS: TL 12 NW 12 (Unpublished document). SBD10879.

To the east of Ravensburgh Castle is a univallate bank with a ditch on its NE side, TL 113 293 - TL 119 290, terminating 20 yards north of the Icknield Way. An ancient origin is suggested by the County boundary following its line. PJF 26.2.73

Extending from TL 1161 2912 to TL 1185 2902 is a univallate bank and N facing ditch, situated under light forestation on steep W and SW facing slopes. Its proportions and character suggest this earthwork is an antiquity, but its purpose and origin is doubtful. Although not in a strong defensive situation its directional position to the nearby Icknield Way is probably significant. At Tl 1181 2905 is a break in the bank and ditch that does not appear to be a modern mutilation and may possibly be an original through-way.
There is no trace of the earthwork continuing westwards from TL 1161 2912 and the county boundary appears aligned to a modern terrace-way on steep north slopes.
Surveyed at 1:2500. JRL 17.9.73

<4> Stephen R. Coleman, Comments, Nov 2000 (Observations and Comments). SBD10779.

Graham Bellamy (Wildlife Trust) on 5/9/00 passed a brooch to me which he had found on 3/9/00 at TL 117 291 on top of the boundary bank whilst cutting trees and bushes from the bank. I passed it to Holly Duncan for identification (Beds County Archaeology Service).

<5> Correspondence, Memo from Holly Duncan (BCAS), 6/9/2000 (Unpublished document). SBD10802.

The brooch is a mature Rosette type (Hull's Type 26A) with cylindrical spring cover. Bow, plate and leg appear to be cast in one (although without x-ray you can't be sure). Reeded decoration on bow and leg, some traces of gilding survive on the bow. The decoration on the plate is too worn to determine. This type is mainly Claudian in date lasting not much beyond a decade (according to the Romanists). The distribution of this brooch type is concentrated in the south-eastern area of Britain.

<6> RAF, 1945-1955, RAF Aerial Photos, CPE/UK/1897.3216 (Aerial Photograph). SBD10536.

Visible on aerial photographs

<7> NMR/AMIE, HE NRHE Monument Inventory, 362342 (Index). SBD12367.

U linear earthwork.

Protected Status:

  • Archaeological Notification Area
  • Archaeological Notification Area (AI) HER1992: IRON AGE BOUNDARY EARTHWORK, Telegraph Hill
  • SHINE: Iron Age boundary earthwork at Telegraph Hill

Monument Type(s):

  • BOUNDARY (Late Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)

Associated Finds

  • FBD4069 - BOW BROOCH (Late Iron Age - 100 BC to 42 AD)

Associated Events: None recorded

Sources and Further Reading

[1]SBD10785 - Article in serial: Royal Archaeological Institute. Archaeological Journal. Vol 41, 1961, pp 32-43 (Dyer).
[2]SBD10942 - Unpublished document: Mrs H Rollaston. 1971. Prehistoric Agriculture in South Bedfordshire. p 61.
[3]SBD10879 - Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Record Cards. OS: TL 12 NW 12.
[4]SBD10779 - Observations and Comments: Stephen R. Coleman. Comments. Nov 2000.
[5]SBD10802 - Unpublished document: Correspondence. Memo from Holly Duncan (BCAS), 6/9/2000.
[6]SBD10536 - Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945-1955. RAF Aerial Photos. CPE/UK/1897.3216.
[7]SBD12367 - Index: NMR/AMIE. HE NRHE Monument Inventory. 362342.