4.3 Monument Characteristics

The analysis of monument characteristics uses eleven codes to distinguish between types.

The characteristics of orientation and domestic refuse usage in construction are covered elsewhere.

The three areas of the south west, south and south east have been examined for all five periods from 3500bc-AD43, and the relevant results are set out in Tables 46-60.

Overall patterns 3500bc-AD43

The summary picture

The overall picture for the whole period under study in Table 59 shows that the three areas share similar characteristics in all but one facet. They all have very high proportions of one period sites (a range of 84-87%), single design sites (94-97%), sites without completion processes (96-100%), and sites using no special materials in their construction (98-99%). Only a tiny percentage of sites (1-3%) was set on old settlement sites. On the other hand, while the overall percentage of visible sites is 73%, the south west exactly meets this average, the south exceeds it (81%) and the south east is less at 57%.

When the individual monument characteristics are analysed for all five periods in Table 60, and some allowance is made for the disproportionate site numbers per area (see Table 58), then there appears little difference between the areas in the incidence of sites of one period, multiple period sites, single design sites, visible sites, sites without completion processes, and sites with no special materials in their construction.

However, differences exist in multiple-design sites where of 85 sites the south west and south appear to have disproportionately more (36%) and the south east less (27%). For sites which are not visible, the south east has disproportionately more (40%) and the south less (32%) on a large sample of 470 sites. For sites with completion processes, the south west has the lion's share (76%) of an admittedly small sample of 25 sites, and where there are sites using special materials the south west has a higher than proportionate share at 40% and the south a lower such share at 36%, but again the sample is small at 25 sites. Finally the monuments set on old settlement sites fall disproportionately highly in the south west (44%) and are low in the south east at 11%, but there is a small sample of 36 sites with such evidence.

The period pictures

Moving next to the evidence which breaks down the last data into the five separate periods, but takes the three areas together, Table 56 reveals some shifting patterns through time. The most notable variations occur in the one period/multiple-period and in the visible/not visible characteristics. In the first case while the range of single period site incidence is still high throughout, it dips from 90% in the 2500-14/1300bc period to 76% and 74% in the two succeeding periods, recovering to 84% in 100bc-AD43, about the same proportion as for 2500-14/1300bc at 83%. The characteristic of visibility displays an interesting decline from the 2500-14/1300bc level of 86% to 79% in the next period before dropping steeply in 8/700-100bc to 24%, and thence to 23% in the final period.

The only other noteworthy feature is that the majority of sites with completion processes are to be found in 3500-2500bc with most of the rest in 2500-14/1300bc.

Table 57 analyses the monument characteristics down through the five periods. The figures are biased by the larger number of sites recorded in the Gazetteer for 2500-14/1300bc (1023 of 1781 sites). The figures show fairly proportionate occurrences throughout of single period sites, single design sites, sites without completion processes, sites with no special materials and sites set on former settlement areas.

Variations occur as follows. The number of multiple-period sites is proportionately less in the period 2500-14/1300bc but greater in the next two periods covering 14/1300-100bc. There also appears to be an unusually high proportion of multiple design sites in 3500-2500bc at 22% of the whole against 7% of the sites, but the sample at 85 sites is not large. Visibility of sites is disproportionately high for the number of sites in the period 2500-14/1300bc at 69% (58% of sites belong to this period) on a very large sample of 1276 sites with that characteristic. The use of special materials is proportionately more frequent in 3500-2500bc at 16% and in 2500-14/1300bc at 68% than the corresponding incidence of sites (7% and 58%), and less frequent or even non-existent later. Finally 3500-2500bc appears to have rather higher proportions of its disposals located on former settlement areas (19% of all incidences through the five periods, against 7% of the sites), but the base is small at 36 sites.

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