Chastleton Barrow camp: a hillfort south of Barrow House

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008402

Date first listed: 13-Sep-1938

Date of most recent amendment: 02-Nov-1994

Map

Ordnance survey map of Chastleton Barrow camp: a hillfort south of Barrow House
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Oxfordshire

District: West Oxfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Chastleton

National Grid Reference: SP 25855 28228

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

Chastleton Barrow camp survives well and our understanding of its construction has been enhanced by limited excavation. Excavation has also demonstrated that the site will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a univallate hillfort known as Chastleton Barrow camp. It is situated on the crown of Adlestrop Hill with clear views in all directions. The defences include a single rampart and outer ditch which enclose a roughly circular area up to 130m across. This area slopes slightly from south to north and is otherwise flat, except for a number of modern circular earthworks created by stock activity around cattle feeders. The rampart is constructed of stone with a rubble core faced with a drystone wall. Although much of this rampart is now covered by soil and tree roots, the wall remains visible at a number of points around the circuit, especially at the north western entrance where several courses of walling are visible. A second entrance cuts the defences to the south east and these formed the original means of access to the interior. The rampart measures up to 14m across and stands up to 4m high to the west although the average height is c.2m. The two entrances are both c.3.5m wide. The surrounding ditch served the dual function of enhancing the defences and also provided material for the construction of the rampart. It has become largely infilled due to cultivation over the years but survives largely as a buried feature c.14m wide. A faint surface trace can be seen on the eastern side of the monument where water leaking from a reservoir lies in a hollow created by the subsidence of the ditch fill. The monument was partially excavated in 1881 when a section across the rampart confirmed its stone construction and also produced finds including burnt animal bone and prehistoric pottery fragments. Excluded from the scheduling are the wooden and corrugated iron fodder store, its surrounding fence and the fences running around the inside and the outside of the rampart; also excluded is the water reservoir on the eastern side of the monument and the trench containing its supply pipe; however, the ground beneath and around all of these features is included in the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 21791

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
'A History of the County of Oxfordshire' in Chastleton Camp, , Vol. ii, (), 312-313
Sutton, J E G, 'Oxoniensia' in Iron Age Hillforts and Other Earthworks in Oxon., , Vol. XXXI, (1966), 35-36
Other
PRN 1468, CAO, HILL FORT, CHASTLETON, (1975)
with CHILDS, K. & SCHOFIELD, A.J., JEFFERY, P.P., On Site Discussion Between MPP Staff, (1993)

End of official listing