Celtic fields
Celtic field is a popular name for the traces of early (prehistoric) agricultural field system
Field system
The study of field systems in landscape history is concerned with the size, shape and orientation of a number of fields. These are often adjacent, but may be separated by a later feature.-Types of field system:...

s found in North-West Europe, e.g. Belgium, Britain, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands. The name was given by O.G.S. Crawford. They are sometimes preserved in areas where industrial farming has not been adopted and can date from any time from the Early Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 (c. 1800 BC) until the early medieval period. They can be preserved as earthworks
Earthworks (archaeology)
In archaeology, earthwork is a general term to describe artificial changes in land level. Earthworks are often known colloquially as 'lumps and bumps'. Earthworks can themselves be archaeological features or they can show features beneath the surface...

 or soil mark
Soil mark
Soil marks are differences in soil colour as a result of archaeological features. They can be seen when a ploughed out earthwork has left hard dry material of a former bank and damper wetter material from a former ditch. They can also occur when a feature has cut through the top soil to reveal...


They are characterised by their proximity to other ancient features such as enclosures, sunken lane
Sunken lane
A sunken lane is a road which has over time fallen significantly lower than the land on either side. They are created incrementally by erosion, by water and traffic...

s and farmsteads and are divided into a patchwork quilt of square plots rarely more than 2,000 m² in area although larger examples are known (e.g. Dorset and Wiltshire). Their small size implies that each was cultivated by one individual of family.

A lynchet is a bank of earth that builds up on the downslope of a field ploughed over a long period of time. The disturbed soil slips down the hillside to create a positive lynchet while the area reduced in level becomes a negative lynchet. They are also referred to as strip lynchets.They are a...

s, evidence of early plough
The plough or plow is a tool used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, and represents one of the major advances in agriculture...

ing can often be seen at the upper and lower ends. Large scale Roman agriculture replaced them in lowland Britain and they are more common in less accessible regions such as the West Country
West Country
The West Country is an informal term for the area of south western England roughly corresponding to the modern South West England government region. It is often defined to encompass the historic counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset and the City of Bristol, while the counties of...


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