Slight univallate hillfort on Conygar Hill
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007918
Date first listed: 12-Jan-1961
Date of most recent amendment: 01-Aug-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: North Somerset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: ST 49896 75094
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.
The slight univallate hillfort on Conygar Hill survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.
The monument includes the slight univallate hillfort situated on Conygar Hill,
an isolated carboniferous outcrop overlooking an area of surrounding Levels.
The hillfort, known as Conygar Camp, has a slightly sloping irregularly shaped
interior with maximum dimensions of 55m from north west to south east and 100m
from north east to south west. The interior of the hillfort contains a large
elongated mound which represents the highest point of the natural rock
outcrop. There are also antiquarian references to hut circles within the
interior of the hillfort. In the south western corner of the interior are the
remains of a gun emplacement. This consists of a sunken area c.0.5m deep with
dimensions of 3.5m by 2.5m defined by low brick walls. This feature is likely
to date from the Second World War.
The hillfort's interior is defined by a single rampart which consists of a
rubble-built bank 3m wide and 0.75m high running around the periphery of the
Traces of field lynchets or terraces on the lower north western slope of
Conygar Hill are likely to be the result of medieval cultivation.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts relating to the field
boundaries, although the underlying ground is included.
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: 22889
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proc Som Arch Nat Hist Soc' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 115, (1970), 34
Iles interpretation of a pillow mound,
Interpretation of mound as a barrow,
Mention of field lynchets,
Mention of hut circles within fort,
Possibility of the name Portbury Hill,
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