Anstiebury Camp: a large multivallate hillfort south-east of Crockers 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.
- Mole Valley (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- TQ 15361 43993
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. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been
constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first
century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements
of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest
that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with
display as with defence. 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, which either appear as 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. In view of the
rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding
the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period,
all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of
Anstiebury Camp hillfort survives well and, as partial excavation of the monument has demonstrated, contains archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to both the monument, its inhabitants, their economy and the landscape in which they lived.
The monument includes a large multivallate hillfort constructed in the second
and first centuries BC and situated on the crest of a hill in the Greensand
overlooking the lower ground of the Weald to the south. Roughly circular, the
hillfort encloses an area of level ground approximately 5ha in extent.
Containing this area are defences which comprise a triple rampart to the north
and south-east where the ground is fairly level, a double terrace on the west
and south where the ground is much steeper, and a single line of defences to
the north-east. The entrance is mid-way along the eastern side, defined by a
wide break in the main rampart. The main inner rampart is up to 4m high and
15m wide with the associated external ditch being up to 6m wide and 1m deep.
There is a broad berm or level platform of up to 11m wide between the inner
and outer ramparts to the north and east. The second rampart is much lower,
standing to a height of 2m and an overall width of up to 15m, with the
associated external ditch 5m wide and up to 0.5m deep. The counterscarp bank
is 8m wide and 1m high. Limited excavations were carried out in 1972-3 when a
trench was cut through the defences to the south-east, the entrance through
the main rampart was investigated and a few other small excavations carried
out elsewhere across the monument. The front of the main rampart had been set
into the inner edge of the associated ditch and revetted with massive,
irregular blocks of sandstone. The excavator concluded that the multivallate
defences were related to sling warfare due to their form and width, with
rounded pebbles, foreign to the Greensand, being a constant feature in the
areas he excavated. Also, he considered that the entrance and the defences to
the north of it were never completed, a fact which may link with the
deliberate demolition of the main rampart revetment, possibly coinciding with
Caesar's landings of 55 BC and 54 BC. The site was re-occupied in the Roman
period, probably at least a century after it was originally abandoned.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fences and fence posts, the reservoir and
associated water pipes although the ground beneath these features is included
except for that beneath the reservoir.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Thompson, F H, 'Antiquaries Journal' in Antiquaries Journal - 3 Surrey Hillforts: Excavations at Anstiebury, Holmbury and Hascombe, , Vol. 59 part2, (1979), 245-318
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