Large univallate Iron Age hillfort, 400m north-west of Crockham House.
Reasons for Designation
Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen. The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by outworks. 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. Large univallate hillforts are rare with between 50 and 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located within southern England where they occur on the chalklands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western edge of the distribution is marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and east Devon, while further examples occur in central and western England and outliers further north. Within this distribution considerable regional variation is apparent, both in their size, rampart structure and the presence or absence of individual components. In view of the rarity of large univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron Age society, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.
Despite some disturbance and damage to the earthworks in the past, the large univallate Iron Age hillfort 400m north-west of Crockham House survives well. Only a small part of the site has been excavated and it contains potential for further investigation into the hillfort and its construction. The interior of the hillfort in particular is likely to contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the occupation and use of the site and the landscape in which it was constructed.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 20 August 2014. 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 a large univallate Iron Age hillfort surviving as earthworks and below-ground remains. It is situated on a long spur of ground with marked slopes on the north, east and west sides, but which levels out onto higher ground to the south.
The hillfort is oval shaped earthwork with an inner bank, external ditch and outer counter-scarp bank, enclosing an area of about 11 acres. Partial excavation has recorded an in-filled quarry ditch, about 0.9m deep, behind the inner bank. This would have been used to provide material for the core of the bank. The earthworks are most prominent on the south side of the hillfort, where the ground levels out and it is not so well protected by the gradient of the surrounding land. The inner bank is up to about 1.1m high and is 6m wide at the base. The external ditch has been cut through solid rock in places. This ditch is V-shaped in profile and about 3m deep. The outer counter-scarp bank is about 0.6m high comprising upcast from the ditch. The defences have been part mutilated or cut in places and on the west side the inner bank has been levelled so that the ditch now forms a terrace way. The hillfort has two entrances; one on the west side and another on the south-east side. Within the interior of the hillfort are two further banks, running broadly east-west across. They may represent enclosures as part of agricultural operations or post Iron Age plough banks.
The hillfort was partially excavated in 1961 and 1970. Two sections cut through the defences recovered large sandstone blocks from the outer ditch, which are almost certainly the remains of a collapsed stone revetment forming part of the inner bank. A mass of blocks in the top of the bank were also thought to possibly represent a platform. An oval pit containing Iron Age domestic refuse and a small hearth were also recorded. The finds from the site included sherds of Iron Age pottery, likely to date to the second or early first centuries BC, a glass bead, and a fragment of a baked clay crucible.