Robin Hood's Ball
Robin Hood’s Ball is a Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 causewayed enclosure
Causewayed enclosure
A causewayed enclosure is a type of large prehistoric earthwork common to the early Neolithic in Europe. More than 100 examples are recorded in France and 70 in England, while further sites are known in Scandinavia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Slovakia.The term "causewayed enclosure" is...

 located on Salisbury Plain
Salisbury Plain
Salisbury Plain is a chalk plateau in central southern England covering . It is part of the Southern England Chalk Formation and largely lies within the county of Wiltshire, with a little in Hampshire. The plain is famous for its rich archaeology, including Stonehenge, one of England's best known...

 in Wiltshire
Wiltshire is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. It is approximately 5 miles from the town of Amesbury
Amesbury is a town and civil parish in Wiltshire, England. It is most famous for the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge which is in its parish, and for the discovery of the Amesbury Archer—dubbed the King of Stonehenge in the press—in 2002...

, and 2.5 miles from Stonehenge
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of a circular setting of large standing stones set within earthworks...



Robin Hood’s Ball, despite the name, is entirely unrelated to the famous folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 hero Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

. In fact 19th Century maps indicate that Robin Hood’s Ball was the name given to a small circular copse of wood just to the north west of the earthworks. It is probable that over time the name came to be associated with the enclosure instead.


A causewayed enclosure
Causewayed enclosure
A causewayed enclosure is a type of large prehistoric earthwork common to the early Neolithic in Europe. More than 100 examples are recorded in France and 70 in England, while further sites are known in Scandinavia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Slovakia.The term "causewayed enclosure" is...

 consists of a circuit of ditches dug in short segments, leaving ‘causeways’ passing between them to the centre. Whilst some have three or four causeways Robin Hood’s Ball has only one, cutting through two circuits of ditches with some low banks behind them. If it were assumed that the area was free of woodland
Ecologically, a woodland is a low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade. Woodlands may support an understory of shrubs and herbaceous plants including grasses. Woodland may form a transition to shrubland under drier conditions or during early stages of...

 in the Neolithic period then its position on a low hill would have afforded clear views of the Plain in all directions, and the site of Stonehenge would have been visible, although it is likely that the Ball predates it by some time.

Robin Hood's Ball is located just outside the northern boundary of Stonehenge World Heritage Site
Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites
Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Wiltshire, England. The WHS covers two large areas of land separated by nearly , rather than a specific monument or building. The sites were inscribed as co-listings in 1986....

 but is listed as an associated site by UNESCO.


Robin Hood’s Ball is a Neolithic feature that dates from the earliest developments around the plain. It was probably constructed at some time around 4000 BC and in use possibly up to 3000 BC. When first constructed none of the more famous monuments to the south such as the Stonehenge Cursus
thumb|right|250px|[[Stonehenge Cursus]], Wiltshirethumb|right|250px|[[Dorset Cursus]] terminal on Thickthorn Down, DorsetCursus was a name given by early British archaeologists such as William Stukeley to the large parallel lengths of banks with external ditches which they thought were early Roman...

, Durrington Walls
Durrington Walls
Durrington Walls is the site of a large Neolithic settlement and later henge enclosure located in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. It is 2 miles north-east of Stonehenge in the parish of Durrington, just north of Amesbury...

, or even Stonehenge itself had yet been constructed. However, there may have been a henge at Coneybury, 1 mile east of Stonehenge, and it is possible that there were earlier features at Stonehenge before the bank and ditch was dug, as indicated by the Mesolithic postholes found in the area now under the car park. Several Long barrows will have been constructed on the Plain around the same time, including one close to the Ball and several more within short distances such as White Barrow
White Barrow
White Barrow is a large Neolithic long barrow situated on a chalk ridge on Salisbury Plain just outside of the village of Tilshead in Wiltshire. It is a scheduled monument, and is owned by the National Trust. It was the first ancient monument to be purchased by the Trust.- History :White Barrow...

 and Winterbourne Stoke Long Barrow. It is estimated that the site began to fall out of use around 3000 BC, about the same time as the earliest earthworks at Stonehenge (itself originally a causewayed enclosure) began.


Robin Hood’s Ball has never been comprehensively excavated and its use is unclear. The ditches and banks will not have been much use for defence, but may have helped keep animals out. The site was constructed at a time of transition from hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 to permanent settlement during the Neolithic revolution
Neolithic Revolution
The Neolithic Revolution was the first agricultural revolution. It was the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. Archaeological data indicates that various forms of plants and animal domestication evolved independently in 6 separate locations worldwide circa...

, and the relatively even spacing of causewayed enclosures across the south indicates that they may have been the central points of tribes or communities.


The site is located on Salisbury Plain Training Area and within the boundaries of its live firing area. It is next to a public right of way, but this can only be used when danger flags are not flying, and it is not permissible to leave the track.
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