The traditional view regarding enclosure A is that it represents an animal enclosure or stock corral dating to the Late Iron Age or Roman period (ie 100 BC - AD 400). The artifactual assemblage recovered, from the1860's to the 1980's, however, consists almost exclusively of struck flint and may, together with the form of bank and ditch, point towards a constructional date within the Middle Neolithic to Middle Bronze Age (c. 3500 - 1400BC).
The resulting impasse has successfully prevented any detailed discussion concerning enclosure A, its archaeological significance, function and role in the chronological development of Southern England and, despite its size (representing one of the largest earthwork enclosures in the country), it is also ignored in the most recent archaeological overviews of south eastern England.
Enclosures B and C
Although the original form taken by these inner enclosures is unknown, it is assumed that they had originally enclosed, at least in part, areas of Late Neolithic / Early Bronze Age `Beaker' settlement.
On present evidence enclosure B would appear to predate enclosure C, though how these enclosures relate to the areas of excavated Beaker settlement, remains unclear. It is possible that the settled areas were secondary to the main phase of enclosure construction. Functional comparisons may be drawn between Belle Tout B and C and the linear earthworks of the Later Neolithic / Early Bronze Age recorded from Fengate, Northamptonshire, and Wilsford Down, Wiltshire. The Fengate examples have been interpreted as field systems or elongated paddocks, while the large rectilinear enclosure of North Kite, Wilsford Down, may also represent an enclosed system of fields. In respect of this interpretation, enclosures B and C may have been designed to encircle and define a contemporary agricultural, valley bottom settlement. In this model the chalk cut shaft could be viewed as a well or domestic water supply.
Alternatively enclosures B and C may represent the remains of two dry-valley enclosure circuits, originally unassociated with settlement. In such an interpretation, enclosure C could have been designed to fully encircle the (possibly ritual) shaft, which lies at its exact centre.
As only a limited sample of either enclosure has ever been examined, the intensity of Beaker settlement within the immediate vicinity of either earthwork remains unknown. This is unfortunate, not only because few settlements of this period survive or have been fully examined, but also because the area itself is gradually being lost to coastal erosion. Excavation and survey beyond the confines of enclosure C, would test the hypothesis that the earthworks did not necessarily define the limits of Beaker settlement activity.