Iron Age defended settlement above Sweetworthy (eastern of two)


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008471

Date first listed: 13-Jul-1994


Ordnance survey map of Iron Age defended settlement above Sweetworthy (eastern of two)
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This copy shows the entry on 24-Jan-2019 at 10:29:51.


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

County: Somerset

District: West Somerset (District Authority)

Parish: Luccombe

National Park: EXMOOR

National Grid Reference: SS 88991 42408


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

Reasons for Designation

During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were constructed and occupied in south-western England. At the top of the settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group. Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south-western England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are likely to be identified as nationally important.

The eastern settlement enclosure above Sweetworthy survives as a good example of the smaller size range of its class. It is part of an unusual grouping of associated prehistoric and medieval settlements.


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


The monument includes an Iron Age defended settlement on the lower northern slopes of Dunkery Hill. It is one of two within 80m of each other, and close to another larger enclosure of similar type. The site is a round levelled area 37m across, enclosed by a bank 0.4m high, except on part of the lower side which is a simple scarp 0.5m high. There is an entrance to the interior on the north west consisting of a gap 2m wide with a slight inturn of the bank. In the south west of the enclosure against the edge is a circular hollow 10m across representing the site of a round building, slightly banked on the east side and with a level entrance to the north. The site has been crossed by a later track which has denuded the earthworks at the points where it ran across them. Excluded from the scheduling is the fence around the monument although the ground beneath 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.

Legacy System number: 24029

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing