Slight univallate hillfort on Castle Crag

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1012940
Date first listed:
25-Feb-1963
Date of most recent amendment:
30-Jun-1995

Map

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Location

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

County:
Cumbria
District:
Allerdale (District Authority)
Parish:
Borrowdale
National Park:
LAKE DISTRICT
National Grid Reference:
NY 24958 15934

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.

Despite a combination of quarrying and limited antiquarian investigation, Castle Crag slight univallate hillfort survives reasonably well. This investigation found pottery, metal artefacts and evidence of metalworking. The monument will retain further evidence of the activities undertaken here and the construction methods employed in its defence.

Details

The monument includes Castle Crag, a small slight univallate hillfort located on the relatively flat summit of Castle Crag in Borrowdale, close to the foot of Honister Pass. The ground falls precipitously on the north, west and east sides of the monument and steeply on the south side. It includes an irregularly-shaped internal enclosure measuring approximately 60m by 25m internally that is protected on its north and north east sides by a turf-covered stone rampart up to 4m wide and 0.7m high running along the edge of the precipice. The present irregular shape is a product of past slate quarrying which has removed the monument's south western corner. There are three artificially levelled areas within the enclosure; two are situated immediately south of a rocky summit knoll and measure c.11m by 10m and 6.5m by 5.5m. The third is situated in the eastern part of the enclosure and measures approximately 15m by 12m. A combination of quarrying and limited antiquarian investigation have found various items including two masses of smelted iron, Roman pottery and red sandstone.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
23680
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Collingwood, W G, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Cumberland, , Vol. XXIII, (1923), 252
Collingwood, R G, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Castle How, Peel Wyke, , Vol. XXIV, (1924), 83
Other
Raymond,F., MPP Single Mon Class Description - Slight Univallate Hillforts, (1988)

Legal

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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