Small Down Knoll 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.

Mendip (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 66623 40624


Small multivallate hillfort and round barrow cemetery 300m north of Small Down Farm.

Reasons for Designation

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the interior. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances, either simple gaps in the earthwork or inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. Small multivallate hillforts are rare and important for understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period. Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period. Despite partial early excavations and the reduction in the heights of the earthworks through cultivation and quarrying, the small multivallate hillfort and round barrow cemetery 300m north of Small Down Farm survive comparatively well and will provide further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, longevity, territorial significance, social organisation, strategic significance, trade, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, funerary and ritual practices, relative chronologies and relationships and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 10 August 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.

This monument includes a small multivallate hillfort and round barrow cemetery situated on the summit of the prominent hill known as Small Down Knoll. The hillfort defences surround the summit of the hill and enclose an area of approximately 4.3ha within which the round barrow cemetery is located. The hillfort survives as a double rampart and partially buried ditch on all except the eastern side where there is a further counterscarp bank of up to 1m high. The ramparts survive differentially from simple scarps above largely buried ditches to near vertical profiles with flat topped banks. There are two original causewayed entrances to the east and south east. It is known locally as Small Down Knoll Camp. Partial excavations were carried out by Gray in 1904 which recovered a flint knife and scraper, fragment of human jawbone and Iron Age pottery. Within the interior of the hillfort is a round barrow cemetery containing at least 14 barrows which survive as circular mounds surrounded by buried quarry ditches from which the construction material was derived. The mounds vary in size from 6m up to 13m in diameter and from 0.2m up to 1.5m high. Most of the mounds have hollows indicating early partial excavation. Skinner excavated three of the barrows in 1827 and found an urn containing ashes and a cremation, some flints and in a separate barrow an urn of ‘superior workmanship’. One barrow was excavated by Gray and revealed a cremation, 14 fragments of Bronze Age pottery and many flints including four knives, a scraper and two saws. The area within the hillfort has been subject to past stone quarrying.


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

Legacy System number:
SO 257
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:-200348 and 200345


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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