Iron Age enclosure on Overton Hill, 600m north west of North Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
West Overton
National Grid Reference:
SU 12800 68863

Reasons for Designation

The size and form of Iron Age enclosed settlements vary considerably from single farmsteads up to large semi-urban oppida. Farmsteads are generally represented by curvilinear enclosures containing evidence of a small group of circular domestic buildings and associated agricultural structures. Where excavated, these sites are also found to contain storage pits for grain and other produce, evidence of an organised and efficient farming system. The surrounding enclosures would have provided protection against cattle rustling and tribal raiding. In central southern England, most enclosed Iron Age farmsteads are situated in areas which are now under intensive arable cultivation. As a result, although some examples survive with upstanding earthworks, the majority have been recorded as crop- and soil-marks appearing on aerial photographs.

Although the Iron Age enclosure 600m north west of North Farm is similar to a number of other sites known in Wiltshire, including the well-known excavated example of Little Woodbury, such sites are rare in the Avebury region, which is best known for its Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments. It will be important in understanding the development of the landscape in this area following the end of the Bronze Age period. Aerial photographs demonstrate that remains survive buried beneath the present ground surface and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument's construction and function, and to the landscape in which it was built.


The monument includes a slightly oval Iron Age enclosure and associated features situated 600m north west of North Farm on a gentle south facing slope of Overton Hill overlooking the River Kennet. Although the enclosure has been levelled by cultivation, it is visible at ground level as a soil mark when the fields are newly ploughed. The site is best seen, however, on aerial photographs which show a bank and ditch enclosing a roughly circular area 110m east-west by 130m north-south. The ditch and bank are interrupted by an entrance to the north west and adjoining this are associated 'antennae' formed by a pair of ditches which run north west for c.80m beyond the enclosure. It is likely that these represent boundaries designed to act as a funnel for the purpose of herding stock into the enclosure. Within the enclosure there are numerous features which represent storage pits and associated structures relating to the occupation of the site. Excluded from the scheduling is the boundary fence which runs north-south through the middle of the area of the scheduling, but the ground beneath this fence is included in the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1957), 120&270
Fowler, P J, 'Proceedings' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine, , Vol. 58, (1963)
Discussion of site during field visit, JEFFERY, P.P., Discussion with Mrs Swanton and R. King in 1989, (1989)
SU 16 NW 47, RCHM(E), Cropmarks of a Little Woodbury type of Iron Age enclosure, (1974)
SU16NW203, CAO, Enclosure of Little Woodbury Type, (1989)


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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