Reasons for Designation
Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes, generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth - fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally. Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh Marches, central and southern England. These are a relatively rare class of monument and they are important for understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities. Despite re-use as a golf course and some quarrying, the slight univallate hillfort called Bathampton Camp survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, function, trade, agricultural practices, social organisation, territorial significance, domestic arrangements, interrelationship with other monument classes and overall landscape context.
The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort, situated on the summit of a prominent hill known as Bathampton Down, overlooking the valley of the River Avon. The hillfort survives as a large roughly-rectangular enclosure defined by a slight single rampart and ditch which geophysical survey has shown to have been of drystone construction. Several partial excavations (in the 19th century, 1904-5, 1952-4 and 1965) have demonstrated that the hillfort is of Early Iron Age date and predates the surrounding field system (which is not included in the scheduling). Incorporated into the hillfort were two probable stone circles, now removed completely, and at least three bowl barrows, one of which contained an urn and cist which was fully excavated in the 19th century. The interior has long been in use as a golf course. Over the years a number of Neolithic and Bronze Age flint finds have been made within the interior.
Sources: PastScape 203356,204162,204163, 204119, 204064 and 203244