Stoke Hill Camp, a slight univallate hillfort

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1003841

Date first listed: 12-Nov-1950

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Jan-2019

Statutory Address: 145m south-west of Stoke Hill Farm, Pennsylvania Road, Exeter

Map

Ordnance survey map of Stoke Hill Camp, a slight univallate hillfort
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Location

Statutory Address: 145m south-west of Stoke Hill Farm, Pennsylvania Road, Exeter

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

County: Devon

District: Exeter (District Authority)

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Grid Reference: SX9263895704

Summary

A univallate hillfort of Iron Age date.

Reasons for Designation

The slight univallate hillfort known as Stoke Hill Camp is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: despite reduction in the height of the rampart through historic cultivation, the monument survives comparatively well; * Potential: since only a small part of the hillfort has been excavated the site will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, use and landscape context, as well as the social organisation of the area during the prehistoric period; * Rarity: slight univallate hillforts are rare, there being only about 150 examples surviving nationally; * Group value: located some 275m south-west of the hillfort is a Roman signal station (scheduled monument), and these two sites together demonstrate the strategic importance of this area during the Iron Age and Roman periods.

History

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 (6th century BC and the mid-1st century AD), the majority being used for a period of some 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. They 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 inturned ramparts. Internal features include timber or stone round houses; storage pits and hearths; stake holes and gullies; also the post holes of square or rectangular buildings interpreted as raised granaries.

The univallate hillfort, Stoke Hill Camp, is situated on a prominent ridge overlooking the valleys of the Exe and the Culm to the north, and approximately 275m to the south-west is the site of a Roman signal station (scheduled monument). The hillfort is documented in the mid-C19, and one source (Oliver, 1845) links the hillfort to a medieval reference to ‘Castrom de Rokysdon’. A small-scale excavation was undertaken in 1935 and the few finds which were recovered indicate that the hillfort was occupied during the 1st century AD. It was designated a scheduled monument in 1950. In the early C21 an assessment of aerial photographs and lidar-derived images as part of the National Mapping Programme project (see Sources) provided evidence that some of the hillfort earthworks extended just beyond the scheduled area. In 2018 a geophysical survey carried out by the University of Exeter identified buried archaeological features within the interior.

Details

PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: the monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a slight univallate hillfort situated on a prominent ridge overlooking the valleys of the Rivers Exe and Culm.

DESCRIPTION: the hillfort is oval on plan, measuring up to 205m north-east to south-west and 110m north-west to south-east internally. Although the enclosing ditch has become partially infilled over the years, it remains visible up to 2.5m deep and some 6-9m wide except for part of the western section. Although it has been degraded by previous ploughing activities, the lidar imagery provides evidence for an outer rampart on the southern side of the hillfort. Along the north side a single, internal bank is visible, up to 0.5m high, which is best preserved surmounted by a field boundary. There is a simple entrance on the east side. The early-C21 geophysical survey identified a number of buried features within the interior, including pits or large post holes and several curvilinear features in the south-western half of the site which have been interpreted as the evidence of possible hut circles. A linear feature, aligned north-east to south-west, which appears to divide the hillfort longitudinally was also visible, but does not appear to correspond with any historic boundary crossing the site. The 1935 excavation recovered several pottery sherds from the 1st century AD. Evidence for partly-smelted or melted ironstone and slag was also found, and a single sherd of Roman pottery.

EXCLUSIONS: all fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath these features is, however, included.

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: the scheduling aims to protect the known full extent of the hillfort, including its outer and inner banks, the ditch and interior. The maximum extent of the monument is 260m south-west to north-east by 160m north-west to south-east. A 5m margin is included for the support and protection of the monument.



Legacy

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

Legacy System number: DV 249

Legacy System: RSM - OCN

Sources

Books and journals
'Stoke Hill, Exeter' in Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society, , Vol. 53, (1995), 104
Radford, R, 'Stoke Hill Camp' in Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society, , Vol. 3, part 1, (1937), 24-32
Websites
Devon & Dartmoor HER. Stoke Hill Iron Age Hillfort, ref. MDV10196, accessed 5 March 2018 from http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MDV10196
Other
Hegarty, C, Knight, S and Sims, R, 2014-2015, East and Mid Devon River Catchments, National Mapping Programme Project

End of official listing