Black Ball Camp: a later prehistoric defended settlement on Gallox Hill
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007668
Date first listed: 01-Nov-1934
Date of most recent amendment: 25-Jan-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Somerset (District Authority)
National Park: EXMOOR
National Grid Reference: SS 98428 42651
Reasons for Designation
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. All well-preserved examples are likely to be
identified as nationally important.
Black Ball Camp survives as a good example of its class and is associated with two further defended enclosures, a hillfort, and an open settlement within coaxial fields.
The monument includes a circular defended settlement above the shoulder of
The enclosure contains c.0.3ha of sloping land encircled by a bank up to 1.9m
high, an outer ditch up to 1.5m deep, and a counterscarp bank up to 1.9m high
beyond the ditch on all but the uphill side. The entrance is downhill on the
south-west side, approached by a causeway across the ditch, and is inturned
and slightly askew. To the north-west of the entrance, disturbance has been
caused by modern digging, but a raised circular area, perhaps a guardhouse,
can still be seen inside the inturn.
Inside the south-west inturn is a possible hut circle which may be
contemporary with the earthworks. This is 5m across, with an entrance to the
Bat's Castle hillfort, which is broadly contemporary, lies 550m to the south
on the hill above and forms the subject of a separate 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: 24003
Legacy System: RSM
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