A slight univallate hillfort and bowl barrow on Ivinghoe Beacon Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009544

Date first listed: 03-Mar-1958

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Oct-1992


Ordnance survey map of A slight univallate hillfort and bowl barrow on Ivinghoe Beacon Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Buckinghamshire

District: Aylesbury Vale (District Authority)

Parish: Ivinghoe

National Grid Reference: SP 96060 16838


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 between 150 and 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 include square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six postholes and interpreted as raised granaries, timber or stone round houses, large storage pits and hearths as well as scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies. 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 slight univallate hillfort on Beacon Hill survives well with little evidence of any disturbance and represents a particularly fine example of its class. The interior appears undisturbed with excellent conditions for the survival of archaeological material. Similarly the perimeter boundary defences and entrance are largely intact.


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


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort and a substantial bowl barrow on the summit of Beacon Hill, at the northern end of the Ivinghoe Hills. The hillfort occupies the entire summit of the hill to form a roughly triangular shaped enclosure some 2.2 hectares in area. The perimeter defences roughly follow the 200m contour and include a scarp averaging 2m high with a ditch or berm averaging 6m wide. The scarp becomes double for some 60m around the southern point of the enclosure, but elsewhere appears to remain single and fairly uniform. A slight lowering and inturning of the scarp and a discontinuance of the ditch at the eastern point of the hillfort, probably marks the site of the original entrance. A pathway which enters the interior at this position does confuse interpretation in this area, however this is the natural approach to the hilltop along the gently climbing dip slope and the most likely position for an entrance. Finds made in the hillfort in the course of various past explorations have included Early Iron Age pottery and bronze implements, suggesting that the site was built in the early 6th century BC by pastoral people still using bronze implements but with an otherwise Iron Age material culture. In the north-western quarter of the hillfort stands a substantial bowl barrow forming part of the Beacon Hill barrow cemetery. It survives as a well defined flat topped mound 23m in diameter and 1.6m high with a surrounding ditch, from which the material for the mound was quarried, 4m wide and 0.4m deep.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 10 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: 19067

Legacy System: RSM


Card no 1245,

End of official listing