This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Arbury Banks Iron Age hillfort

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Arbury Banks Iron Age hillfort

List entry Number: 1008981

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hertfordshire

District: North Hertfordshire

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Ashwell

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 10-Aug-1923

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jul-1994

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 20759

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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.

The site was subject to partial excavations during the 1850's which established the scale and the good state of preservation of the outer defensive ditch of the hillfort. Only a small portion of the site has been excavated and substantial important deposits will survive undisturbed. The ramparts and internal features will retain archaeological information relating to its occupation and development as well as environmental information relating to the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.

History

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

Details

The monument includes an Iron Age hillfort situated on high ground near the Newnham Way, 1km south west of Ashwell parish church. The monument measures 290m north east-south west by a maximum of 245m north west-south east. The defences consisted of a ditch with an internal bank. The ditch, although no longer visible as an earthwork survives as a buried feature and is visible on aerial photographs and as a soilmark. It measures an average of 5m in width and is infilled along its entire length. The internal bank survives only intermittently and measures a maximum of 2.5m in width at its top and survives to 1.2m in height at the south western end of the site. Two causeways give access to the monument, one to the NNW measures 20m in width, the other to the SSE is about 40m in width. The interior of the monument contains features which are visible as cropmarks and on aerial photographs. These marks represent rectangular, square and curvilinear enclosures, hut circles and pits which survive as buried features.

An excavation of the defences by J Bedlam in the 1850's found that the external ditch around the hillfort measures 6m in width and 4.5m in depth. The fence is excluded from the scheduling though the ground beneath it 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.

Selected Sources

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

National Grid Reference: TL 26142 38699

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1008981 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 23-Nov-2017 at 10:32:40.

End of official listing