Deluge of Atlantis

Deluge of Atlantis
Deluge of Atlantis

Friday, February 17, 2012

British Causewayed Enclosures

British Causewayed Enclosures

Ground plans of some typical causewayed enclosures. 1 Windmill Hill, Wilts; 2 Robin Hood’s Ball, Wilts; 3 Whitesheet Hill, Wilts; 4 Briar Hill, Northants; 5 Whitehawk, Sussex. Ditch sections outlined. (Sources: various)

A causewayed enclosure is a type of large prehistoric earthwork common to the early Neolithic in Europe. More than 100 examples are recorded in France and 70 in England, while further sites are known in Scandinavia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Slovakia.[citation needed]
The term "causewayed enclosure" is now preferred to the older term causewayed camp as it has been demonstrated that the sites did not necessarily serve as occupation sites.
File:Windmill Hill Pit.jpgWindmill Hill, Ditch
Causewayed enclosures are often located on hilltop sites, encircled by one to four concentric ditches with an internal bank.[Henges on the other hand have the circular bank with an internal ditch] In general enclosures located in lowland areas are larger than hilltop ones. Crossing the ditches at intervals are causeways which give the monuments their names. It appears that the ditches were excavated in sections, leaving the wide causeways intact in between. They should not be confused with segmented, or causewayed ring ditches, which are smaller and are thought to relate only to funerary activity, or with hillforts, which appeared later and had a definite defensive function. With regard to defensive functionality, however, evidence of timber palisades has been found at some sites such as Hambledon Hill.


Archaeological evidence implies that the enclosures were visited occasionally by Neolithic groups rather than being permanently occupied. It is possible that they represent a transitional period in the Neolithic before hunter-gatherer societies finally became fully settled. The presence of human remains in the banks and ditches of the enclosures has been seen as an attempt by the builders to connect their ancestors with the land and thus begin to anchor themselves to specific areas[citation needed]. Longitudinal sections excavated along the ditches by archaeologists suggest that the builders repeatedly redug the ditches and each time deliberately deposited pottery and human and animal bones, apparently as a regular ritual[citation needed]. Environmental archaeology suggests that the European landscape was in general heavily forested when the enclosures were built and that they were rare clearings in the woodland that were used for various social and economic activities.
In the 1970s the archaeologist Peter Drewett suggested seven possible functions for the sites:[citation needed]
Other interpretations have seen the causeways as symbolic of multi-directional access to the site by scattered communities, the enclosures as funerary centres for excarnation or the construction of the site being a communal act of creation by a fragmented society. Some enclosures are better situated for one activity than another and it is unlikely that they served any one purpose.
Animal remains (especially cattle bone), domestic waste and pottery have been found at the sites. But there has been limited evidence of any structures. In some locations, such as Windmill Hill, evidence of human occupation predates the enclosure. Generally, it appears that the ditches were permitted to silt up, even while the camps were in use, and then re-excavated episodically[citation needed]. It is unlikely that they had a strong defensive purpose[citation needed]. The earthworks may have been designed to keep out wild animals rather than people. The sequential addition of second, third and fourth circuits of banks and ditches may have come about through growing populations adding to the significance of their peoples' monument over time. In some cases, they appear to have evolved into more permanent settlements.
Most causewayed enclosures have been ploughed away in the intervening millennia and are recognized through aerial archaeology. The first were constructed in the fifth millennium BC and by the early third millennium BC; notable regional variations occur in their construction. French examples begin to demonstrate elaborate horn-shaped entrances which are interpreted[citation needed] as being designed to impress from afar rather than serve any practical purpose.
Aubrey Burl considers that building of causewayed enclosures decayed by 3000 BC and was replaced by more localised types of earthen work monuments. In Britain, such replacements include Stonehenge I, Flagstones, Duggleby Howe and Ring of Bookan, and the later henge monuments.


Examples of causewayed enclosures include:



These enclosures, of which about 50 [up to 80] are known, are usually roughly circular in plan and consist of one, two or three concentric rings of ditches, dug as a series of irregular pits, probably by gang labour, and separated by undug causeways of soil, rather like a string of sausages. The material from the ditches was thrown up into an internal bank, sometimes revetted with posts or turf, or crowned by a stockade. Many of these banks have now disappeared entirely. It was originally thought that the gaps in the ditches were entrances for droving cattle, and that gaps in the banks corresponded with them. However, it is clear that the banks were much more continuous, with only a few breaks. If entrances existed they cannot always be positively identified, but groups of post holes at Hembury, Crickley, Whitehawk and Hambledon have been interpreted as the remains of wooden gates. Little sense has been made of the interior of the enclosures, which seem to contain a mass of pits, post holes and gullies, perhaps indicating at least temporary settlement.
The causewayed enclosures crown rounded hills in the chalk lands like The Trundle in Sussex and Knap Hill in Wiltshire, but they are also found in low-lying valleys like Abingdon in Oxfordshire and Staines in Middlesex, and on saddles and ridges as at Combe Hill and Whitehawk, both in Sussex. They are almost exclusive to lowland Britain and stretch from Hembury in Devon north to Alrewas in Staffordshire and Barholm in Lincolnshire, with a possible addition at South Kirby in West Yorkshire.
There is as yet little evidence that the majority of enclosures were built for defensive purposes, and the earthworks sometimes slope down the side of a hill across the contours as though deliberately displaying their interiors to the outside world. However, some East Anglian sites seem to have massive stockades inside the ditches, which might be interpreted as a form of defence. Isobel Smith suggests that they follow a‘predetermined plan carried out regardless of topography’. Size varies considerably from less than a hectare (3 acres) at Rybury in Wiltshire to over 8 ha. (20 acres) at Windmill Hill and Hambledon Hill.
Most excavation of causewayed enclosures has concentrated on the ditches which are usually some 3 m. (10 ft) wide and seldom less than 1.5 m. (5 ft) deep. Where more than one ring of ditches occurs, the outer ring is usually the deepest as at Windmill Hill and The Trundle. It is not clear if each circuit of ditch is contemporary with its neighbour, and some enclosures may have increased their size as their importance grew. At Etton, Francis Pryor has suggested that only a few segments of ditch were dug at any one time. Although the ditches were basically the quarries for bank material, it is clear that they had a part to play in the activities at the site, since they were cleaned out on a number of occasions. Even so excavations show that they frequently contain large quantities of domestic rubbish. This usually consists of layers of animal bones, (especially cattle, sheep, pigs and deer), mixed with fragments of pottery, vegetable refuse and charcoal, broken flints, the occasional dead dog and human bones. Often this rubbish was carefully covered with soil as though to reduce the smell of rotting garbage.
Most of the pottery found in the ditches belongs to round-bottomed, baggy-shaped vessels. Finer quality carinated bowls of Grimston type seem to have been of special significance. Numerous axes of non-local stone and pottery tempered with grit from Cornwall and found as far east as Gloucestershire and Sussex suggest that these objects had been brought to the enclosures from long distances. The animal bones show the cut marks of flint knives, perhaps indicating on-the- spot butchering, and some ox skulls show signs of pole-axing with a sharp flint point over the left eye.
Deserving particular attention are the human remains found in the ditches. A large number of human skulls are recorded, often lacking their lower jaws. Some of these, at Hambledon Hill for example, seem to have been deliberately positioned on the ditch floor, as though to ward off evil spirits. Others are more casually scattered, and mixed with other human bones, suggesting that they may have been swept into the ditch in a cleaning operation. If this is the case then it is likely that they originated in the centre of the enclosure where corpses may have been decay. Roger Mercer has written of the central enclosure at Hambledon Hill, describing it as ‘a vast, reeking open cemetry, its silence broken only by the din of crows and ravens’. This implies that causewayed enclosures played a far greater part in the funeray ritual of neolithic Britain than has been realized. In Celtic Iron Age times human heads were collected as trophies and stored as prize possessions. It is perhaps worth wondering if a similar cult existed in the neolithic period.

Child burials seem to have had a special place in this ritual. At Windmill Hill the deliberate burials of two young children were found in a ditch, together with the skulls of three more. At Whitehawk the excavator found the ashes of a hearth containing fragments of five skulls, all of them of young people between 6 and 20 years. In the same ditch section was the complete skeleton of a young mother with her new-born child. Child burials also occurred in the ditches at Hambledon Hill, where they accounted for 60 per cent of the burials. Some lay crouched in the ditch bottom with cairns of flints above them. At the same site the lower trunk of a 15-year-old boy had been dragged into a ditch, perhaps by animals, whilst the flesh was still upon it. Complete adult skeletons have also been found at Offham Hill (Sussex), Abingdon (Oxon) and Staines (Middx).

Probably the best-known example of a causewayed enclosure, and first to be investigated, is Windmill Hill, 2.5 km. (1 1/2 miles) north-west of Avebury in Wiltshire. Three roughly concentric rings of causewayed ditches circle a low hilltop. The outer ditch has a diameter of 365 m. (1,200 ft). The mean diameter of the middle ditch is 200 m. (660 ft), whilst the inner measures about 85 m. (280 ft). The ditches do not follow the contours of the hill; instead they hang lop-sidedly down the steeper northern hillslope. They may not all be contemporary and recent excavations by Alastair Whittle suggest that the outer ditch may have been added later (plate 8). All the ditch sections are very irregular and vary considerably in size. Excavation by Alexander Keiller between 1925 and 1938 showed them to be flat bottomed, and deepest in the outer circle and shallowest in the inner ring. Only at the eastern side of the outer circle can any trace of the bank now be seen, though the excavations showed that it was present inside all the ditches. We shall probably never know if it was topped by a stockade, thus making it defensive.

Many fragments of early neolithic pottery were found in the enclosure. Nearly one-third of it had been made from Jurassic clays found some 30 km (20 miles) away around Frome and Bath. How such fragile material was carried to Windmill Hill remains a mystery. Also deliberately buried in the ditches were domestic objects such as flint scrapers, stone axes and animal bones suggesting some form of settlement, either temporary or permanent, as well as the skeletons of the two children mentioned above.

A variety of interpretations of causewayed enclosures have been offered over the years. Settlement sites and defended camps were first suggested 50 years ago, and this was possibly closer to the truth than has more recently been supposed. The large quantities of domestic rubbish in the ditches at some of these sites would support such explanations. The fact that some of the rubbish had come from some distance away led to the idea that the enclosures were centres for periodic fairs and tribal gatherings. The wealth of animal bones was used to suggest that the sites were corrals where cattle were annually rounded up for branding, gelding or culling. Following the work at Hambledon Hill the idea of the central area of the enclosures being used as a vast mortuary for the exposure of corpses has proved most popular. There is no clear answer. It is probably wrong to try and see each site as serving the same function but the various similarities between them perhaps indicate that they were most likely ritual cult centres, where people met at certain times of the year to mourn their dead and celebrate the well-being and fertility of their crops, their animals and themselves.

Amongst the causewayed enclosures are a small group of strongly defended settlements with causewayed and continuous ditches, which tend to be sited on hill spurs. The best known examples are Hembury in Devon, Crickley Hill in Gloucestershire, Hambledon Hill in Dorset and Carn Brea in Cornwall. These sites were defended by steep natural hill slopes as well as man-made defences. At Carn Brea a massive enclosing wall, built of boulders and 2 m. (6.6 ft) wide at the base, surrounded an area of 0.8 ha. (2 acres). The local geology precluded the digging of a causewayed ditch. Post holes indicated a number of probably domestic buildings in the enclosure, some of which had been destroyed by fire. Outside, larger enclosures were used for agriculture. More than 800 leaf-shaped arrowheads, some broken, and others amongst the boulders of the rampart, strongly suggested that Carn Brea was attacked on more than one occasion.

Crickley Hill, in its final phase, was defended by a continuous ditch and a strong stone-built internal wall topped by a stockade. Four hundred arrowheads and signs of burning again indicated a dramatic end for the enclosure. A violent end to Hambledon Hill is also seen as likely from the signs of the burning down of the stockade on top of the bank, and the skeleton of a young man with an arrowhead in his chest found there, apparently killed whilst rescuing a child from the burning enclosure.

Roger Mercer has observed that after these defended enclosures went out of use, no further defensive sites are known until the appearance of hillforts a thousand years later. It is unlikely that the causewayed enclosures were dug by the very first farmers who arrived in Britain. At first concentrated communal effort was required to establish the farming way of life with its forest clearance, house building, crop growing and animal husbandry. Only after a generation or two would there be time for large numbers of people to gather at the slack times of the year when the farming calender was not too busy, to engage in the construction of communal earthworks.

[This last part is pure supposition only, and there is the alternative suggestion is that their original function was protective but that function quickly gave way to a more ritual and symbolic function. It has also been suggested that the structures were made in imitation of older, more obviously defensive earthworks that were settlements made outside of Britain and carried over by the first farmers but in a pretty much only rudimentary form. That there is some sort of relationship between the causewayed enclosures and the later hillforts has traditionally been assumed although it is true that there is a gap of several centuries in between. Several theorists have noticed the resemblance of some of the enclosures to Plato's description of the capital city of Atlantis and a few have even said this is evidence that Atlantis was Britain: yet only the design is similar, the british examples are not permanent settlements and they do not have metal-jacketed walls. Since they do have a ceremonial function and are connected to the ideas of cultural begionnings and cultural unity, it makes more sense to say that they are made in rememberance of Atlantis. Besides the same basic idea of circular-cities occurs outside of Britain, and over a wide area.-DD][A more involved analysis of Causewayed enclosures from an online encyclopedia follows]

Causewayed enclosures

Causewayed enclosures are as Julian Thomas has pointed out "among the more enigmatic monuments of the British Neolithic (1999, 38). They were the second form of monuments to be built during the Neolithic, and appear in the  4th millennium BC, some 500 years after the period began. [On the other hand some of the radiocarbon dates associated with the construction of the "Henge" structures do go back to 8000 BC, in the earliest Mesolithic, including at Stonehenge itself, according to the Wikipedia]. The enclosures were made up of interrupted sequences of ditches. Some sites such as Etton only had a single ring of ditches, others such as Whitehawk may have had up to five circuits (Edmonds 1999, 113) (fig. 3). Originally named causewayed "camps", they were interpreted as settlements based on analogy with how Iron Age hill forts were understood at the time. This was influenced by two factors, the emphasis on the perceived need for defence, and the act of naming them camps by the Ordnance Survey (Evans 1988, 49-51). This second factor may well have unintentionally influenced interpretation for some time (Evans 1988, 49). The interpretation as fortified village sites was dismissed in the 1950s when Stuart Piggott rightly pointed out that they were, in fact, totally unsuitable for defence (1954, 26; Smith 1965, 17). Some sites such as Hambledon Hill do show evidence for conflict and inter-personal violence, but only at the end of an extended history (Edmonds 1999, 85). The conclusion therefore is that even where violence took place, defence was still not the main purpose of the enclosures. However they continued to be perceived as settlements for some time, based at least partially on interpretations of continental enclosures of the Lengyel culture and the LBK. The perceived sedentary nature of the Neolithic in Britain and on the continent also pointed interpretation in the direction of settlements.

Figure 3: Plans of causewayed enclosures (after Edmonds 1999, 100; Thomas 1999, 39).

This view has come to be severely criticised for two reasons. Firstly, the modern view of the Neolithic outlined earlier, with a mobile and non-sedentary population, did not fit with the interpretation of causewayed enclosures as settlements. Secondly, as more enclosures have been found, it has become increasingly obvious that far from being central places, that is settlements at the heart of the Neolithic world, they are physically marginal, set away from the main areas of Neolithic occupation (Thomas 1999, 38). Increasingly therefore they have re-emerged as ritual places, liminal, related to rites of passage, exchange, excarnation and ceremony (e.g. Edmonds 1999; Thomas 1999). Some older suggestions continue to have merit however, particularly that of Isobel Smith that enclosures acted "as the rallying point for the population of a fairly wide area" (1965, 19; see also Edmonds 1993, 132).

The eighty or so enclosures now identified in Southern Britain form the final part of a tripartite sequence of enclosure development that spread across Europe, starting with the enclosures that began at the end of the LBK, around 5000BC (Whittle 1988, 5). The second phase saw enclosures become increasingly formalised and common in the Lengyel and Stichbandkeramik cultures of Central Europe, whilst being less common to the west (Hodder 1990, 111; Andersen 1997, 180). The final phase of enclosure building saw the spread of enclosure into Western Europe, Southern Scandinavia and Britain itself (Whittle 1996, 269). It was there that causewayed enclosures emerged.

Memory and the past at causewayed enclosures

This spread of enclosures into Britain has led Richard Bradley to suggest that they represent an idealised past community, much in the same way that he has argued that long barrows represent an idealised version of the LBK longhouse (1998; 2002). Often LBK enclosures, such as at Darion in Belgium, enclosed the remains of an abandoned community, the houses inside belonging to an earlier phase (Bradley 2002) (fig. 4). Thus from the outset Bradley argues that enclosures were connected to themes of past inhabitation (1998). Causewayed enclosures continued this theme; although they did not enclose an actual abandoned settlement they referred back to earlier enclosures, and thus to earlier settlements. The architecture of causewayed enclosures, Bradley argues enhanced this, their segmented ditches echoing the borrow pits around the LBK longhouses (2002, 32). Bradley argues that the enclosures "might act as a testimony of people’s attachment to place and to their relationships with one another, even though in practice they might no longer have come into contact on a day-to-day basis" (Bradley 1998b, 81). Anthropological support can be found in the work of Peter Riviere on the Trio Indians of the Surinam/Brazilian border (2000). Although not related to an actual archaeological past, the oral history of the different groups tells of a time when they all lived together (Riviere 2000, 255). In fact, they believe that they would be happier if only they could live together again, but infighting, gossip and disputes with leaders inevitably results in-group fissioning (Riviere 2000, 256). Nonetheless the Trio feel that everyone living together would be an ideal, if unfeasible state. Here we can see that groups do make reference to collective past, and to a collective community, even if such a community does not exist in reality in the present.

This then help us think through Bradley’s arguments in terms of memory and emotion. The Trio truly believe that they would be happier if only they lived together (Riviere 2000, 252). Links with the continent are also shown in the jadeite axes found at the Hambledon Hill and High Peak enclosures (Edmonds 1999, 124). The enclosures of the British Neolithic might thus have drawn on memories and origin myths of a distant past where communities lived in an idealised, united form.

Figure 4: Plan of long houses and enclosure at Darion in Belgium (after Bradley 1998, 75).

There are a number of difficulties with Bradley’s account however. As he himself points out, it is unwise to draw conclusions from one site and apply them universally across space and time (Bradley 1998, 70). He also points out that it is difficult to draw continuities between the three phases of enclosure (Bradley 1998, 69). This is however what he inevitably does when applying a single metaphor, however malleable, to the construction of enclosures in Neolithic Europe. Different notions may have been played out at different points, not just between the three phases but also within them. Rather than referring to an idealised past community, the enclosures may have been far more about the development and creation of people in the present, both in their construction and in their subsequent use. This theme, to which we shall return later, may have been played out at certain times and certain places in reference to past communities, but it may also have been worked through in reference to the future or to a mythical past that had no archaeological precedent. That the enclosure phenomena began in the LBK, and that themes that were important then may have continued to be echoed in following periods, is not in doubt. These may have been seen and interpreted in many different ways that Bradley does not consider however, and some may have been involved in the direct rejection of beliefs surrounding origin that were essential for others. But perhaps the continental connection that has lain behind so much archaeological interpretation of enclosures has something to it, and perhaps it is caught up in memory and emotion like the desire of the Trio to live together despite the actualities on the ground (Riviere 2000).

Regardless of the veracity of such arguments, memory certainly played an important role at causewayed enclosures. This was memory that exceeded the lifetime of particular individuals, held collectively and created through the rituals, ceremonies and performances at these sites. Examples of this can be taken from the ditches of Hambledon Hill and Etton, where deposits higher in the stratigraphy and thus later in time, mimicked those underneath in form (Edmonds 1999, 117). This, as Edmonds points out, is connected to the maintenance of tradition over time (1999, 117). At Briar Hill and Staines, original, older features were respected, showing memory of their location and character (Edmonds 1999, 102). Another example can be taken from Etton. There are numerable small filled pits within the enclosure ditch at Etton, none of them however intercut in anyway (Pryor 1998). This shows a continued memory for the location of the pits, as many are close together. It is possible that some of the locations were marked, but it is likely that over time such markings would have faded away, leaving the locations of the pits known only by those who could remember. We will return both to these small filled pits at Etton and to memory and knowledge when we turn to the creation of identity in the next chapter.

Activity and performance at causewayed enclosures

Causewayed enclosures saw a huge variety of activity, both between sites and at individual locations, so much so that they often seem to encapsulate every area of Neolithic life (Whittle et al. 1999). The variety between sites also makes it extremely dangerous to generalise about them as a class of monument. Despite this there are a number of themes associated with the enclosures that appear to have been important at many of the sites.

The evidence for feasting at several sites appears to be overwhelming. At Windmill Hill for example huge quantities of animal bone was deposited in the ditches, and although some of it may have been deposited with the meat still on, much would have been defleshed and presumably consumed (Whittle et al.1999). This feasting may have been tied in with a number of other areas; rites of passage and exchange for example. Much of the material left over from these feasts was deposited in the ditches, not in a random fashion but in deliberate patterns making particular statements. Other items have been found in the ditches of enclosures: pots, axes and human bone amongst other things (Whittle et al. 1999). Often these have been related rather vaguely to rites of passage, fertility rituals and other ceremonies. Whilst not disputing this I wish to demonstrate later how more specific, contingent and contextualised readings can connect these deposits to the creation of identity. Perhaps unsurprisingly human bone in particular has provoked much discussion. Particular deposits such as the line of skulls along the bottom of the ditch at Hambledon Hill have provoked extended debate (Edmonds 1999, 119). The association between causewayed enclosures and human bone has also been enhanced by the suggestion that the enclosures were used as location for excarnation (Edmonds 1999, 120). Bodies, it has been suggested were left out in the open in the enclosures to allow the flesh to fall away and reveal the bones underneath. This process has associations with symmetry, as the body rots, moving from symmetrical to unsymmetrical and back to symmetrical again (Cummings et al. 2002). The bones might then be deposited in the enclosure ditch or transferred, as we saw earlier, around society as part of Thomas’ "economy of substances" (1999, 226). Some may have been taken and deposited in megalithic tombs, which often have a complimentary inventory with nearby enclosures (Edmonds 1999, 120).

The role in excarnation, combined with the physically marginal location of enclosures has been used to argue that they are liminal places (Thomas 1999). That is to say betwixt and between the normal run of the land. Both Julian Thomas and Mark Edmonds have linked this liminal status of enclosures to their role as centres for exchange of cattle, people, pots and axes (Edmonds 1999; Thomas 1999). Julian Thomas has described them as "socially neutral areas within which exchange could be concluded in isolation from their normal social meaning" (1999, 43). The exchange of items, some of them exotic, all of them associated with biographies and replete with meaning, is described as a polluting and dangerous activity (Thomas 1999, 43). Axes, which in particular have been seen as central to Neolithic exchange, may even have been finished at some sites before being exchanged (Edmonds 1999). At other sites though, such as Etton, they were deliberately broken before being deposited (Pryor 1998; Edmonds 1999). The architecture of the enclosure separated these already marginal locations further from everyday life, combined with the unusual activities within exchange could take place in a safe and secure way.

Ritual and ritualisation

This point about architecture is an important one. Architecture can have a profound effect upon the way in which action and ritual is perceived. It is worth considering the nature of ritual here for a moment. The notion of ritual first emerged as a counterpoint to the reason and logic that was seen to be the hallmark of western thought (Bell 1992, 6). Those actions in a society that could not be explained within this paradigm were taken to be ritual acts. This point of view often survives in archaeology today. More complex views of ritual also exist, indeed it is often seen as "a definitive component of the various processes that are deemed to constitute religion, or society, or culture" (Bell 1992, 16). Often this is expanded to present a view of ritual in terms of the coming together of opposing or contradictory social forces (Bell 1992, 16). These notions have dominated the classic anthropological accounts of Bateson, Levi-Strauss and Geertz (Bell 1992, 35).

Catherine Bell has recently argued that this logic is circular however, and based on the Cartesian dualities between thought and action that are central, but peculiar, to much of western philosophy (1992, 25,32). She identifies three key structures behind this view of ritual, the separation of thought and action, their reintegration, and the separation of the theorist and practitioner, between us and them, between our thought and their action (Bell 1992, 25). These dualities miss both how ritual forms part of the reality of social life and how it creates an unbridgeable gap between subject and object. The recognition that the very definition of ritual is based on such a dichotomy leads Bell to argue that in fact ritual acts are not clearly differentiated from other acts of social behaviour (1992, 29). Thus rather than try to define ritual, she argues that the study of ritualisation is essential (Bell 1992, 74). Ritualisation is the "way of acting designed and orchestrated to distinguish and privilege what is being done in comparison to other, usually more quotidian activities" (Bell 1992, 74).

The architecture of enclosures clearly helps distinguish the activities that take place there from more day-to-day activities. It is this that helps create the possibility for the ritualisation of action; the activities that take place, such as excarnation, exchange and deposition to have connotations and understandings different to that they might have elsewhere. It is this that might make exchange safe where elsewhere it might be dangerous. It is also this that allowed these activities to have particular ramifications in terms of the regulatory ideals that were cited, maintained and undermined through performance at these sites. It is important to think also about the physical effects the architecture of such a monument has upon the possibilities for action for a human body (Barrett 1994; Tilley 1994; Thomas 1996). The causeways entail that the enclosure can only be entered from certain directions. At certain sites, notably many of the European enclosures but also at Etton, particular entrance causeways were situated at the cardinal points (Bradley 1998; Pryor 1998). This would entail certain experiences at particular times of year, with regard to the rising or setting sun or moon. Narrow causeways or entrances require people to enter in certain orders and "provide another field in which distinctions between groups or individuals could be drawn" (Edmonds 1993, 111). Those enclosures with multiple circuits could create a hierarchy of value, with restricted access moving from inside to outside. This point of view, a phenomenological or dwelling perspective (Ingold 2000), can help us to think about the ways in which different performances might be accessible from certain points of view and not from others. Such a point of view also allows a consideration of the experiential nature of constructing such a monument and how notions of identity might be caught up and defined through the building and memory of building.

Enclosures in the landscape

Taking a dwelling perspective allows us to begin to place enclosures within the landscape, and indeed the taskscape (Ingold 1993), within which they were constructed. The taskscape is the entire ensemble of tasks that take place in the landscape. The landscape is in effect the embodied form of the taskscape (Ingold 2000, 194-198). The crux of this is that it sets the bodily practice and habitus of Bourdieu (1977) within the wider landscape and within the affordances that landscape has to offer (Ingold 2000, 166). This allows us to see how the habitus is created, not just through relationships at certain locales and with certain people, but also through the wider experience of being-in-the-world across the whole landscape. Enclosures formed a place along a path. Sometimes set on ecotones (e.g. Hambledon Hill), or in marginal locations, they formed part of the landscape through which moved a still mobile population, herding cattle, growing crops, hunting and gathering. Within this landscape in which enclosures were set, an older tradition of monuments also existed, the long barrows and megalithic tombs. These complimented the causewayed enclosures and continued to be used alongside them, some bone moving perhaps from one type of monument to another. The enclosures would have been approached at certain times, at certain seasons. Cattle and axes might be exchanged, alliances made or renegotiated and rites of passage gone through, rites that may have involved the young, the old, the living and the dead. Tempo would have been crucial to this (Fowler 2002b). The change and transformation of bodies, sites and people all happened at particular tempos that would be remembered and recalled, and were essential to understanding Neolithic life (Fowler 2002b, 56). All of the enclosures were unique, but equally the themes outlined above can be traced from one to another, despite our increasing awareness of how numerous they may have been (Oswald et al. 2000).


One factor however that I feel is crucial to our understanding of causewayed enclosures is the creation of identity. Despite repeated reference to the variation in experience at each enclosure, the narratives in much of archaeology still fail to get to grips with how things might actually have been really different in the past. The discussion of exchange, excarnation, feasting and deposition at these sites misses much of how these events interacted with the identity and agency of the people of the Neolithic. What forms of personhood did these performances cite? How did certain rituals help form particular notions of identity? Can we detect particular depositions that might have formed part of particular rites-of-passage? What different notions of gender and identity can we suggest might have been possible within the material conditions of the Neolithic? We have seen how Joanna Brück has argued cogently that many descriptions of agency and experience at Neolithic monuments unthinkingly engender power relations, and privilege the male over the female (2001). In order to move away from this and from essentialist notions of identity and agency it is essential we examine how different ways of being human might have existed in the past. Yet within this we must maintain the possibility for change, subversion, challenge and conflict. In order to do this I will now turn to two particular causewayed enclosures, Etton and Windmill Hill (Pryor 1998; Whittle et al. 1999). Both sites have been recently excavated and extremely well recorded. Indeed much of the interpretation in both site reports is cogent and well argued. The interpretations I intend to offer should largely be complimentary to, rather than in place of, the conclusions of those reports...

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