Slight univallate hillfort with an Iron Age defended settlement 1005m WSW of Home Farm known as Park Hill camp.
Reasons for Designation
Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number, density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of henge monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important remains include a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and linear boundaries which date throughout prehistory and into the Romano-British and medieval periods. This high level of survival of archaeological remains is due largely to the later history of the Chase. Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting Ground from at least Norman times, and much of the archaeological survival within the area resulted from associated laws controlling land-use which applied until 1830. The unique archaeological character of the Chase has attracted much attention over the years, notably during the later 19th century, by the pioneering work on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and Edward Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of British archaeology. Archaeological investigations have continued throughout the 20th century and to the present day. 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 to 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 counter scarp 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 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 and spread from Devon to eastern England and the Welsh Marches. Wessex represents one of several areas noted for a relative density of these sites, and within Cranborne Chase they form one of a range of different classes within the notable concentration of hillforts identified. They are rare and important for understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities. During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were constructed and occupied in south western England. At the top of the settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group. Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south western England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. Despite tree growth the slight univallate hillfort with an Iron Age defended settlement 1005m WSW of Home Farm survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, development, longevity, inter relationship and relative chronologies, territorial, strategic, economic and social significance, agricultural practices, trade, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 9 July 2015. This 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. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.
This monument includes a slight univallate hillfort containing an Iron Age defended settlement situated on the mid point of a prominent protruding escarpment ridge called Park Hill overlooking the dry valleys of Six Wells Bottom and Convent Bottom. The hillfort survives as a rectangular enclosure with an interior of approximately 2.3ha defined by a rampart bank of up to 10m wide and 1.8m high, outer ditch of 8m wide and 2m deep and counterscarp bank of 7m wide and 1.5m high. There are two entrances one to the north west has been re-used by a later track, the second is offset and to the south east. Within the hillfort is a smaller Iron Age defended settlement, considered to post date the outer hillfort. It survives as a D-shaped enclosure of approximately 1ha internally defined by a rampart bank of up to 8m wide and 1m high with a 6m wide flat bottomed outer ditch which varies between 0.3m and 1.2m deep. This inner enclosure also has a south eastern entrance. The hillfort and settlement lie within the Grade I Registered Park of Stourhead (1440).