Arbury Banks Iron Age hillfort
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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 17-Oct-2019 at 06:04:38.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- North Hertfordshire (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- TL 26142 38699
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.
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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
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