Slight univallate hillfort south of End Way Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014142

Date first listed: 02-Aug-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Slight univallate hillfort south of End Way Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 04:37:35.


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

County: Essex

District: Maldon (District Authority)

Parish: Asheldham

National Grid Reference: TL 97285 01284


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.

Part excavation of the slight univallate hillfort at Asheldham indicates that the unexcavated parts of the monument may survive well. Environmental evidence from the site will add greatly to our understanding of later prehistoric agricultural practices. Late prehistoric sites in Essex with surviving upstanding earthwork remains are very rare and although this site has been partly disturbed by gravel quarrying the majority of the external defences survive in comparatively good condition.


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


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort which lies roughly in the centre of the Dengie peninsular, on a plateau rather than a hilltop. To the south the land slopes away down to Asheldham Brook allowing the fort to be seen from considerable distances to the south and south east. The defences include a bank and external ditch, which are visible on the east and south of the enclosure as upstanding earthworks. The bank stands to a height of 0.7m in the eastern part of the defences while the ditch is visible as a shallow depression. Partial excavation has shown that the ditch survives as a buried feature up to 10m wide and 3.6m deep in places. To the west the line of the defences follows a natural scarp in the landscape. It is likely that along this side the scarp was artificially steepened and heightened by the addition of a substantial bank along the top. To the north the line of the bank and ditch are marked by the road which follows them around the line of the enclosure. Within the interior further buried features related to the occupation of the site are known to survive. The first finds to be noted were discovered in 1893 when the Southminster Waterworks were constructed. These included `a rough basketwork of large sticks, on which had been laid a covering of clay with coating of gravel'. A number of fragments of Iron Age pottery and worked flints were also recovered. Archaeological monitoring of intermittent gravel digging within the interior of the enclosure was undertaken in the 1920s and 1930s. This work noted internal features and traces of the defensive ditch in the north west. Further finds of Iron Age pottery were made in the 1940s, including a collection of vessels with cremations. In 1985 a contour survey and trial excavations were undertaken in order to assess the state of survival and management needs of the monument. This revealed a well preserved old land surface with traces of pre-hillfort cultivation. Within the interior, pits and post holes were recorded, which included the remains of a granary dating to the Middle Iron Age which had been destroyed by fire. Fences and fence posts are excluded from the monument although 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.

Legacy System number: 24887

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bedwin, O, 'Essex Archaeology and History' in Asheldham Camp An Early Iron Age Hill Fort: The 1985 Excavations, , Vol. 22, (1991), 13-37

End of official listing