Monument record CAM 001 - Black Ditches

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Scheduled Monument - Black Ditches, earthwork Cavenham.


Grid reference Centred TL 765 726 (257m by 1797m) Centred on
Map sheet TL77SE


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

Black Ditches, Cavenham.
Linear earthwork, bank with ditch on the W side. Extends from River Lark (edge of flood plain) to Cavenham brook in a N-S alignment. Surviving length circa 1000m. A separate length forms the parish boundary between Cavenham and Lackford and Risby, and extends into Risby parish. (see RBY 002 for information relating to this S section).
The S part of this section has been largely destroyed by cultivation (S4), although ?Edwardson (or Owles?) notes this area as `hollow in plough... visible on ground' circa 1960's (S6). The main part measures 19. 5m across with a ditch 0. 70m deep and bank 0. 90m, high (S1).
1981: A ? mound (marked on OS 1:10560) not visible on ground and not remembered by owner (S2).
1986: Surviving N section is in unmanaged deciduous wood, with elder & nettles growing on bank. Subsequent missing section runs alongside pasture. Most of earthwork is in managed birch plantation, with much birch growing in ditch and bracken, grass and occasional birch growing on bank. Southernmost 150m of upstanding bank runs between arable fields; here ditch is ploughed over and three 30 x 30 cms wooden posts are set into W face of bank. Gravel quarrying is taking place to SW of surviving S end, separated from it by a fence (S2).
The total length of the Black Ditches, assuming the two surviving stretches were originally one, is about 5500m. The earthwork is comparable to the Cambridgeshire Dykes (Devils Dyke, Fleam Dyke, etc) spanning the route of the Icknield Way between the Lark Valley and the high ground (S3). There is no direct evidence for the date of the earthwork; by analogy with other linear earthworks in the region it is usually assumed to be post Roman. OS AP shows no indication of N & S lengths joining except short length of ditch visible N of Lackford/Tuddenham road, at N end of southern length (S7). For parallel (& presumably related) ditch/s, containing Late Iron Age pottery, see CAM

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <M1> (No record type): SAM File:.
  • <S1> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TL76NE4, 1977.
  • <M2> Photograph: CUCAP. CUCAP aerial photograph. APs: CUCAP OA 49,51, QG 25; SAU AFX 18,19,20; OS 76/060/169; NMR 13351/3,4.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Department of the Environment. Scheduling information.
  • <M3> (No record type): Microfilm: (S6).
  • <S3> (No record type): Fox C, Archaeology of the Cambridge Region, 1923, 123-4, 146.
  • <S4> (No record type): SAU, AP AFX 19, 1977.
  • <S5> Photograph: CUCAP. CUCAP aerial photograph. CUCAP, APs OA 49,51, 1954; QG 25, 1955.
  • <S6> (No record type): BSEMH, Correspondents 6 inch record map, 32 NE, A R Edwardson or E Owles entry, undated.
  • <S7> (No record type): OS, AP OS76/060/169.
  • <S8> Digital archive: Historic England. National Record Of the Historic Environment.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Jul 13 2022 3:08PM

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