Hillfort and associated Romano-British occupation at Little Abbey, Alveston


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010803

Date first listed: 05-Jun-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 30-Nov-1994


Ordnance survey map of Hillfort and associated Romano-British occupation at Little Abbey, Alveston
© 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.

District: South Gloucestershire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Thornbury

National Grid Reference: ST 64934 88881, ST 64988 88745


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 is unusual in that, although similar to other examples in the Severn Basin, it has produced largely Roman as opposed to Iron Age artefacts. The earthwork itself is well preserved, while the abundance of finds from the interior suggests that archaeological deposits inside the monument will survive.


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


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort and associated Roman remains occupying a ridge top with commanding views to the north of the Forest of Dean, Severn Valley and parts of the Coltswold. The hillfort is of oval shape with single rampart and an entrance to the south. An additional bank branches off from the main earthwork at the south east. The main bank survives in places to a height of 1.7m and a breadth of 5m. Although the appearance of the site as a hillfort suggests an Iron Age date, finds from the site are largely Roman; these include coins, pottery and quernstones, recovered by fieldwalking in fields both within and immediately outside the earthwork. More recently, observations within the farmyard to the south of the road and on the eastern edge of the rampart, produced pottery and the appearance of Roman fabrics within contemporary buildings. In addition the foundations of a building have been identified during turf-stripping in a field east of the yard. The modern road which bisects the monument, and its verge, are omitted from the scheduled area. Also omitted are the modern buildings within the scheduled area, although the ground beneath them 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: 12007

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Witts, G B, Archaeology handbook for Gloucestershire, (1883)
Solley, T W J, 'Trans Bristol and Gloucs Arch Soc' in Earthworks at Abbey (Alveston) and Elberton (Aust), , Vol. 101, (1983), 174-180
CUAP 1964 A1059,
Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Archaeol Records ST 68 NE 2,

End of official listing