: Wessex A
photo gardens, and battlefields. Working within specific criteria set down by DCMS, and aided by Selection Guides addressing particular themes and site-types (both of which are available online, see https://historicengland. org.uk/listing/selection-criteria/), cases are given an ‘initial [desk-based] assessment’. If appropriate, this then proceeds to ‘full assessment’, including in-depth research, site visits, and public consultation, which are then written up and passed to the DCMS for consideration. Only after this painstaking process do they get added to the Schedule.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the long-running Monuments Protection Programme (MPP) saw hundreds of sites added to the Schedule annually. In more recent times this figure has declined, though, in large part because the assessment processes outlined above are more involved than in the past, and the Schedule entries are correspondingly longer, going into much greater detail about each site. Instead, Historic England currently schedules on the basis of threat (usually impending development on the site); as part of the organisation’s strategic priorities (for example, First World War sites during the 2014-2018 commemorative period); or where sites have strong potential for inclusion on the Schedule as important or unusual survivals of a site or sitetype. To illustrate what this means, let’s explore ten examples of sites, scheduled in the last few years, that fall within each of these categories. Early days Beginning in the prehistoric, we find a fascinating site that was added to the Schedule in October 2017: the buried remains of a linked pair of late Neolithic penannular henges at Bulford, Wiltshire, which are encircled left The recently scheduled Bronze Age ring ditches, encircling two Neolithic henges, at Bulford in Wiltshire.
by later Bronze Age ring ditches (List entry 1449706). Lying just 2km east of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site, this complex series of features was initially identified during preparatory work for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s Army Basing Programme, and its deskbased assessment quickly progressed to a gradiometer survey and then an excavation. The results, shown in the photograph on the left, speak for themselves. The earthworks are a dramatic survival even in the context of Wiltshire’s rich prehistoric archaeology. In this case, scheduling helps ensure that the site is respected during the long-term redevelopment of the still active military base.
A very different but no less exciting prehistoric site was added to the Schedule last July: a late Neolithic timber trackway and platform below Radiocarbon dated to c.29002500 BC, the Lindholme Neolithic timber trackway represents Britain’s earliest-known example of its kind.