Ratlinghope Hill camp: a slight univallate hillfort, 600m north east of Brow 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.
- Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SO 40635 97313
Reasons for Designation
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 -
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 counterscarp 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 only 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.
Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of
the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is
relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the
Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within
the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh
Marches, central and southern England. In view of the rarity of slight
univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition
between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive
comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further
archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.
Ratlinghope slight univallate hillfort survives well and is a good example of this class of earthwork. The interior is undisturbed and will contain archaeological evidence relating to the occupation of the site. The perimeter defences will preserve environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was constructed and the economy of the prehistoric community who built it. It is one of a group of several associated monuments of similar age which occupy this area of upland. Considered as such it contributes important information for changes in the land use and settlement pattern during the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age in this area of upland.
The monument includes the remains of a univallate enclosure, incorporating a
cross dyke, situated towards the south end of a steep sided spur below the
main plateau of Stitt Hill. The enclosure is roughly pear shaped in plan with
maximum dimensions of 130m north west to south east by 110m transversely and
has an internal area of just under 1ha. The defences are designed to make
maximum use of the topography. They are strongest around the north, where a
well defined rampart and ditch cuts roughly east to west across the neck of
the spur, separating the southern tip from the rising ground to the north.
The rampart comprises a substantial bank 9m wide and up to 1.4m high
internally, 2m externally. Orientated roughly east to west, it turns to follow
the shoulders of the natural slopes to the east and the west, tapering out
after 30m and 40m respectively. On its northern, uphill, side it is flanked by
a broad based ditch 5m wide and 1.2m deep, which also tapers out on the steep
natural slopes to the east and west. This rampart may be the earliest part of
the earthworks and it may have originally functioned as a cross-dyke. This
would then have been incorporated into a more comprehensive system of
earthworks to create an enclosure at a later date. These boundary works,
forming the remainder of the enclosure, are less well defined but remain
visible. The west and south sides are formed by an artificial cutting back of
the natural hillslope to steepen it and create a strong scarp 2.1m high. A
change of slope at the base of this scarp could mark the position of a ditch,
though this has become infilled over the years so that it survives only as a
buried feature. Some 40m from the south west corner, along the south western
side of the enclosure and facing the main valley to the south west, is an
original entrance. It has the form of a pronounced break in the scarp, flanked
on either side by pronounced terminals. The eastern corner of the site is
visible only as a change of slope. There is no visible evidence of any
habitation in the interior of the enclosure, which slopes gently from north to
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 4 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:
- Legacy System:
Record no 00186,
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