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Berry Castle, Iron Age enclosure in Berry Castle Wood

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Berry Castle, Iron Age enclosure in Berry Castle Wood

List entry Number: 1006204

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: West Somerset

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Luccombe

County: Somerset

District: West Somerset

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Porlock

National Park: EXMOOR

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 17-Oct-1978

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM - OCN

UID: SO 155

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Iron Age defended settlement known as Berry Castle.

Reasons for Designation

Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south western peninsula of England. In contrast to the other two areas, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little excavation of Exmoor monuments. However, survey work has confirmed a comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day. Many of the field monuments surviving on Exmoor date from the later prehistoric period. 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. The Iron Age defended settlement known as Berry Castle survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, function, territorial significance, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.

History

See Details.

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 29 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.

This monument includes an Iron Age defended settlement situated on a narrow sloping ridge between the valleys of two tributaries to an unnamed river leading to Porlock Bay. The settlement survives as three sides of a small rectangular enclosure defined by a single rampart bank of up to 7m wide and 1.7m high internally with a partially buried outer ditch of up to 6m wide and 2m deep to the north, west and south sides and to the east by the natural steep slope. To the south east is a short stretch of a second outer bank and ditch. There is a possible entrance to the north east through which a parish boundary bank enters and effectively bisects the interior.

Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity but are not included in the scheduling because they have not been formally assessed.

Selected Sources

Other
PastScape Monument No:-35939

National Grid Reference: SS 85919 44958

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1006204 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 19-Oct-2017 at 07:11:19.

End of official listing