Neolithic causewayed enclosures and later prehistoric farming: Duality, imposition and the role of predecessors at Kingsborough, Isle of Sheppey, Kent, UK
Authors: Allen, M.J. et al.
Journal: Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Developer-funded archaeology on the Isle of Sheppey resulted in the discovery of not one but two Neolithic causewayed enclosures on the same hilltop in very close (c. 300 m) proximity. In the later Bronze Age enclosures and cremation cemeteries were constructed immediately to the east, followed by Iron Age enclosures and, ultimately, field systems dating to the later Iron Age onwards. A radiocarbon programme enabled the chronological sequence and hiatus between all of these events to be discerned, but the majority of this paper explores the physical, chronological, and social relationship between the two Neolithic causewayed enclosures. These were of different forms and, although on the same hilltop, they each seem to have had distinctly different viewsheds over the Thames and the Swale respectively. There are subtle, but potentially significant, differences in the material culture and deposition which allow exploration of the possible functions and role(s) of the two largely contemporaneous sites. Questions may be addressed such as whether they performed the same functions for two communities or had separate and distinct roles for a single community. Beyond the Neolithic, the paper also explores the nature of the later use of the hilltop. The Bronze Age enclosures, though agricultural in function, clearly seem to respect their Neolithic predecessors invoking a remembrance of space, which is lost by the Iron Age. The shift away from the special function of this landscape in the Neolithic to a subsequent agricultural use is explored, as is the hiatus in use and subsequent re-use of the area.