Bindon Hill camp


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Dorset (Unitary Authority)
East Lulworth
Dorset (Unitary Authority)
West Lulworth
National Grid Reference:
SY 83530 80255


Minor Romano-British villa 385m south west of St Andrews Church.

Reasons for Designation

Romano-British villas were extensive rural estates with groups of domestic, agricultural and occasionally industrial buildings at the focus. The term "villa" is now commonly used to describe either the estate or the buildings themselves. The buildings usually include a well-appointed dwelling house, the design of which varies considerably according to the needs, taste and prosperity of the occupier. Most of the houses were partly or wholly stone-built, many with a timber-framed superstructure on masonry footings. Roofs were generally tiled and the house could feature tiled or mosaic floors, under-floor heating, wall plaster, glazed windows and cellars. Many had integral or separate suites of heated baths. The house was usually accompanied by a range of buildings providing accommodation for farm labourers, workshops and storage for agricultural produce. These were arranged around or alongside a courtyard and were surrounded by a complex of paddocks, pens, yards and features such as vegetable plots, granaries, threshing floors, wells and hearths, all approached by tracks leading from the surrounding fields. Villa buildings were constructed throughout the period of Roman occupation, from the first to the fourth centuries AD. They are usually complex structures occupied over several hundred years and continually remodelled to fit changing circumstances. They could serve a wide variety of uses alongside agricultural activities, including administrative, recreational and craft functions, and this is reflected in the considerable diversity in their plan. The least elaborate villas served as simple farmhouses whilst, for the most complex, the term "palace" is not inappropriate. Villa owners tended to be drawn from a limited elite section of Romano-British society. Although some villas belonged to immigrant Roman officials or entrepreneurs, the majority seem to have been in the hands of wealthy natives with a more-or-less Romanised lifestyle, and some were built directly on the sites of Iron Age farmsteads. Roman villa buildings are widespread, with between 400 and 1000 examples recorded nationally. The majority of these are classified as `minor' villas. Minor villas are found throughout lowland Britain and occasionally beyond. Roman villas provide a valuable index of the rate, extent and degree to which native British society became Romanised, as well as indicating the sources of inspiration behind changes of taste and custom. In addition, they serve to illustrate the agrarian and economic history of the Roman province, allowing comparisons over wide areas both within and beyond Britain.

Despite partial early excavation, the minor Romano-British villa 385m south west of St Andrews Church will retain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, social, political and economic significance, agricultural practices, trade, industrial activity, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 15 December 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes extensive Iron Age defensive earthworks and two bowl barrows situated on the prominent coastal ridge called Bindon Hill overlooking Lulworth Cove and Mupe Bay. The main defensive earthwork runs from west to east to the northern side of the hill and potentially encloses an area of approximately 98ha. This extensive area contains the coastal shelf and hog backed chalk hill. The defences are defined by a rampart bank, outer ditch and counterscarp bank which differs in construction throughout its length suggesting it was built by different groups over a period of time. Some areas also have flat bottomed inner ditches, and quarry pits which are not apparent in other places showing a variation in the construction techniques. At the western end a series of cross ridges seem to suggest an attempt to construct a smaller defended enclosure with possible outworks extending to the south west. This smaller area is approximately 15ha in extent and more defendable, with an even smaller defensive inner core of some 6ha also defined by a bank and ditch. It has been suggested this may reflect an attempt to create a slight univallate hillfort. On the northern rampart there is an inturned entrance and partial excavations in this area and on one of the cross ridges indicated marking out banks preceded the main earthwork construction. Pottery finds suggested an Iron Age date. To the south of the main defences are at least two bowl barrows which survive as circular mounds surrounded by buried quarry ditches from which the construction material was derived. The mounds are between 12m to 14m in diameter and 0.5m to 1m high. Both have been cut slightly by a track and both have hollows in the mounds interpreted as early partial excavations or possible shell holes. In the 13th century both the ‘dike of Julius Caesar’ on Bindon Hill and the ‘dike to Stairhole’ were recognised boundaries mentioned in the Calendar of Charter Rolls.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
DO 68
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument Nos:-455543 and 455546


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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