Earthwork on Botany Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013869

Date first listed: 16-Nov-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 13-Feb-1996


Ordnance survey map of Earthwork on Botany Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Surrey

District: Waverley (District Authority)

Parish: Farnham

National Grid Reference: SU 87515 46233

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 slight univallate hillfort at Botany Hill is unusual as it appears that the site was never completed, although parts of the monument may have been disturbed during construction or landscaping in the area. The monument survives comparatively well and is known from chance finds to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. Together with the comparable site of Soldiers Ring, 500m to the east, the site will enhance our understanding of settlement and social organisation of the later prehistoric period in this area.


The monument includes an earthwork, identified as the remains of a slight univallate hillfort, possibly unfinished, situated on a steep-sided natural knoll of Greensand on the south west slope of Botany Hill. Apart from being apparently unfinished, the Botany Hill earthwork is similar in size, form, and siting to the Soldiers Ring earthwork 500m to the east. This too has been interpreted as a hillfort. Botany Hill earthwork, which appears in plan as a `C'-shape, is defined by a bank and outer ditch, with additional defences to the north, west and south west, defining an internal area of c.40m north-south but open to the east. On the south west side the bank survives to a height of 0.5m and is 6m wide. The ditch has become partially infilled over the years but is visible as an earthwork feature. It measures 6m wide and 1m deep on the south west side, and can be followed around the enclosure to the west and north as a terrace up to 4m wide and c.2m below the level of the hill top. Also to the west and north, the natural steep slope of the hill has been scarped for additional defence. Beyond the ditch to the south west is an outer counterscarp bank 1.2m high and 5m wide. Part excavation of the site in 1993 suggested that the ramparts did not form a continuous circuit, as previously had been thought. Chance finds, in the form of calcined stone, have come from the monument over the years. All fences and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, 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: 20177

Legacy System: RSM


Aldsworth, F G, 1727, (1966)
CAS code 491, P.Reeves, Report on the evaluation excavation of earthworks at Botany Hill, (1993)
Raymond,F., MPP Single Mon Class Description - Slight Univallate Hillforts, (1988)

End of official listing