Large multivallate hillfort and later park pale at Caesar's Camp


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Hart (District Authority)
Rushmoor (District Authority)
Waverley (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 83584 50029

Reasons for Designation

Large multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between 5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection of the power struggle between competing elites. Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have ramparts. Access to the interior is generally provided by two entrances although examples with one and more than two have been noted. These may comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts, oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or circular houses. These display variations in size and are often clustered, for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fencelines, hearths and ovens. Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture occurred on many sites. Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere. In view of the rarity of large multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of national importance.

Caesar's Camp hillfort survives well with the interior remaining largely undisturbed. Partial excavation has verified that archaeological remains and environmental evidence survive relating to its construction and occupation as well as later re-use. The development of the site from a univallate to a multivallate hillfort gives an insight into the changing nature of the occupation of the area during the Iron Age period as well as shedding light on the specific importance of the site to the local Iron Age community. The later re-use of the defences as the siting of a park pale relates to the social organisation and economy of the area during the medieval period as well as providing an interesting example of the continuing impact of the prehistoric earthworks on the surrounding landscape and population.


The monument includes a large multivallate hillfort of Iron Age date situated on an irregular promontory on the Bagshot series of sands and gravels. The hillfort has a large level interior c.10.5ha in extent surrounded by a series of banks and ditches which follow the natural contours of the hill except on the south side where the defences cross the plateau. There are no traces of banks and ditches on the north and north-east sides of the hillfort although the natural slope on these sides is steeply scarped. On the eastern side is a double rampart; the inner bank measures up to 10m wide and 3m high with the ditch between the inner and outer bank up to 5m wide and 2m deep. The second bank is 2m high and 6m wide with the final outer ditch up to 1m deep. The south-east corner of the hillfort has three ramparts and traces of a counter- scarp bank continuing around to the southern side of the defences. The original main entrance may have been situated mid-way along the eastern side of the site but a recent quarry has obscured the details of this area. The defences are at their strongest across the level ground on the south where they are now cut by a trackway, possibly of modern origin. In addition to the hillfort there are also the remains of part of a medieval park pale which survives as a bank and ditch situated along the western edge of the camp, turning south mid-way along the northern edge and rejoining the Iron Age defences for a short length on the southern side of the monument. The external bank is up to 1m high and 2m wide with an internal ditch c.2.5m wide and 0.5m deep. In the 11th century the hillfort formed part of the Farnham estate of the Bishop of Winchester and by the 13th century the area was part of one of three parks attached to Farnham Castle. In 1970 a small trench was cut on the western side of the camp to investigate the Iron Age defences and the later park pale. This work showed four phases of construction for the western hillfort defences and demonstrated that the outer bank and ditch represented a later development of the site from a univallate to a multivallate hillfort. Excluded from the scheduling monument are all fences and fence posts although the ground beneath them is included.

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.

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Books and journals
Riall, N, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club Archaeological Society' in Excavations at Caesar's Camp, Aldershot, , Vol. 39, (1983), 47-53


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.

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