Hascombe Camp: a small multivallate hillfort north west of Lodge 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.
- Waverley (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- TQ 00501 38662
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 remains are believed to be of
Despite storm damage, Hascombe Camp survives comparatively well with the interior of the enclosure remaining largely undisturbed within a complete circuit of defences. Partial excavation has demonstrated that the site contains both archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument, its inhabitants, their economy and the landscape in which they lived. It has also produced evidence for the abandonment of the site, an event possibly coinciding with the Roman invasion.
The monument includes a small multivallate hillfort of Iron Age date, situated on the south west tip of a ridge of sandstone. It is roughly rectangular in shape and aligned south west to north east.
The hillfort has earthen rampart defences which enclose an area of approximately 2.5ha. To the south east, south west and north west a bank and outer ditch follow the crest of the natural slope. The bank has been eroded over the years and the ditch has become infilled but survives as a buried feature c.3m wide, visible as a terrace 3.5m below the crest of the bank. A second ditch, c.4m further down the slope, is also visible as a terrace: the slope below it has had additional scarping. On the eastern corner the terrace continues north east for a further 25m beyond the inner defences along the edge of the slope. The north eastern defences have a single bank which survives up to 1.5m high and 12m wide, a ditch 5m wide and 0.5m deep and a natural rise beyond them utilised as an additional defensive feature. The entrance, situated on the north east side 30m from the northern corner, survives as a gap in the rampart 3m wide with two short out-turned banks c.10m long, 8m wide and 1m high.
The hillfort was first excavated in 1931 when trenches were put through the defences on all four sides and a single trench centrally through the interior: sling-stones, querns and Iron Age pottery were recovered. More recent excavations in 1975 and 1977 recovered more occupation evidence with a loom- weight, a spindle whorl, grains and querns, as well as hearths and pits within the interior of the enclosure suggesting domestic activity. Also the north eastern ramparts were found to be stone-revetted, including the out-turned banks of the entrance. The gap between them was also found to have included two sets of gates. The pottery is all Late Iron Age and dates from between 200 and 50 BC.
The occupation of the hillfort is believed to have been quite short-lived. The apparently deliberate breakage of expensive household items such as quernstones, also seen at the nearby site of Holmbury, suggested that the occupants may have been forced to abandon the site, an event possibly coinciding with Caesar's landings of 55 and 54 BC.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fences, gates and posts but the ground beneath all these features 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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Thompson, FH, 'Antiquaries Journal' in Hascombe Camp, , Vol. 59 part2, (1979), 245-318
Winbolt, S E, 'Surrey Archaeological Collections' in Hascombe Camp, , Vol. 40, (1932), 78-96
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