Oliver's Battery: a hillfort on Abbotstone Down near Alresford


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010867

Date first listed: 30-Nov-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 18-May-1995


Ordnance survey map of Oliver's Battery: a hillfort on Abbotstone Down near Alresford
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 20-Nov-2018 at 23:36:41.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hampshire

District: Winchester (District Authority)

Parish: Itchen Stoke and Ovington

National Grid Reference: SU 58433 36220


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 hillfort on Abbotstone Down survives well and, despite some reduction of the surrounding bank and infilling of the ditch, the site will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction, use and abandonment of the monument.


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


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort of Iron Age date on Abbotstone Down near Alresford. The bank and ditch which enclose the interior follow the contours of a gently sloping spur of high ground c.2km east of a tributary of the River Alre. The hillfort is bisected by the B3046 road. The bank and ditch have been partly reduced and infilled respectively on all except the north east side of the site where an outer, counterscarp bank is also preserved. These define a maximum internal area c.230m (north to south) by c.200m. A possible entrance lies at the south east corner. The bank, ditch and counterscarp have an overall width of 20m, the ditch being 10m wide, the inner and outer counterscarp banks 6m and 4m wide and rising c.2m and 1m above the base of the ditch respectively. The bank nowhere rises more than 0.7m above the interior of the hillfort. Although known as Oliver's Battery, the site has no known Civil War associations. The surface of the B3046 road, all seats, barriers, gates, fences and associated posts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath 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: 24338

Legacy System: RSM


Ordnance Survey, SU 53NE 15,

End of official listing