Multivallate hillfort on Meon Hill


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Multivallate hillfort on Meon Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 17686 45325

Reasons for Designation

Large multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between 5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection of the power struggle between competing elites. Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have ramparts. Access to the interior is generally provided by two entrances although examples with one and more than two have been noted. These may comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts, oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or circular houses. These display variations in size and are often clustered, for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fencelines, hearths and ovens. Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture occurred on many sites. Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere. In view of the rarity of large multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of national importance.

As one of only two known examples of large multivallate hillforts in Warwickshire, Meon hillfort is an example of a rare class of monument in the county. Partial excavation at the site has indicated that, despite regular ploughing, the interior will retain structural and artefactual evidence for the occupation of the hillfort and the economy of it's inhabitants. The large hoard of currency bars found within the interior reflects the site's importance and also demonstrates the significant advance towards a standardised measurement of commodities during the Iron Age.


The monument is situated on the summit of Meon Hill within the parish of Quinton and includes a multivallate hillfort. The defensive earthworks of the site closely follow the contours of the hill. They include intermittent traces of an inner rampart and ditch, and an outer ditch, beyond which in some sections, is a second rampart or counterscarp bank. At the NW edge of the hillfort all the defences, except the inner rampart, appear to have been destroyed by landslip; while along the northern side, where the ground falls away steeply, there is a single bank and traces of a 10m wide ditch. Along the southern edge of the hillfort the defences include the inner rampart and a 16m wide ditch, and an outer bank. The outer ditch has become infilled, but it will also survive as a buried feature and is, therefore, included in the scheduling. The best-preserved sections of the site's defences are situated along the southern and SW edges of the hillfort and include a double-ditched rampart and the counterscarp bank. The inner ditch is 16m wide and the outer is 9m wide. The inner rampart has been ploughed out. Although there is no earthwork marking the hillfort's eastern defences today, the double ditch in this vicinity will survive as a pair of buried features which are included within the scheduling. A map of 1884 shows two ramparts and three ditches along the southern and eastern sides of the site. Access into the interior of the hillfort is by means of causeways at the NW and SE edges of the site; either of these may mark the site of original entrances. The hillfort earthworks enclose an area of approximately 10ha. In 1824, 394 spit-shaped currency bars were found within the interior, approximately 1.2m beneath the ground surface. The currency bars have been dated to the 3rd century BC. During the early 20th century at least six saucer-shaped depressions were visible within the southern part of the interior and in 1906 one of the depressions was excavated. It was 4.9m in diameter and 1.1m deep and was interpreted as half a sunken hut with an encircling stone wall that had fallen inwards. Finds recovered from the sunken hut included Iron Age and Romano-British pottery sherds, a broken spearhead and flint flakes. The interior of the hillfort is regularly ploughed and the depressions are no longer visible on the ground surface, but they will survive as buried features beneath the maximum depth of ploughing. An excavation at the site in 1922 recovered pottery, flint and two bronzes. In 1957 an Anglo-Saxon inhumation was found within the hillfort. The finds associated with this burial include a shield boss, spearhead and a ferrule (a metal band or ring). Meon hillfort was described as a fortification of treble earthworks in the 17th century. The triangulation station within the interior and all fence posts on the site 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.


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

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Books and journals
Andrews, F B, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Meon Hill, , Vol. 49, (1923), 57
Hodges, T R, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Meon Hill And Its Treasures, , Vol. 32, (1906), 101-15
Price, E, Walton, P, 'West Midlands Archaeological News Sheet' in West Midlands Archaeological News Sheet, (1982), 81
Price, E, Walton, P, 'West Midlands Archaeological News Sheet' in West Midlands Archaeological News Sheet, (1982), 78-82


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

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