Hillfort known as Ranscombe Camp


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014528

Date first listed: 30-Jan-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Hillfort known as Ranscombe Camp
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1014528 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 14-Nov-2018 at 07:46:34.


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

County: East Sussex

District: Lewes (District Authority)

Parish: Glynde

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 43816 09046


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

Reasons for Designation

Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen. The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by outworks. 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. Large univallate hillforts are rare with between 50 and 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located within southern England where they occur on the chalklands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western edge of the distribution is marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and east Devon, while further examples occur in central and western England and outliers further north. Within this distribution considerable regional variation is apparent, both in their size, rampart structure and the presence or absence of individual components. In view of the rarity of large univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron Age society, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Although its earthworks have been levelled in places by more recent land use, the unfinished large univallate hillfort known as Ranscombe Camp survives well, and has been shown by part excavation to contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument's construction and the landscape in which it was built. The hillfort is unusual in that it was never completed. Around 500m to the south east is a small multivallate hillfort on The Caburn. These monuments are broadly contemporary, and their close association will provide evidence for the sequence of settlement in this area during the Iron Age.


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


The monument includes the earthwork defences of an unfinished large univallate hillfort dating to the Iron Age, situated on a hill which forms part of the Sussex Downs, enjoying extensive views of the Ouse valley to the south. The hillfort has a roughly north east-south west aligned, curving bank c.400m long and c.10m wide, surviving to a height of up to 2m at its north eastern end. To the south west, the height of the bank has been reduced by modern ploughing. The bank is flanked on its south eastern side by a ditch which has become infilled in places, but which is visible towards its north eastern end as a depression c.7m wide and c.1m deep, flanked by a slight counterscarp bank c.2m wide. A c.6m wide gap in the defences c.30m from their north eastern end represents the intended entrance. The monument was partly excavated in 1959-1960 when it was found to date to the early sixth century BC. Pottery sherds dating to the early second century AD indicated occupation during the later, Romano-British period. The excavation revealed that the bank was originally constructed as a box rampart, or earth and chalk rubble wall reinforced with timbers and revetted with turves. This was separated from the ditch by a berm of around 4.5m wide, although natural slippage of the rampart over the years has largely obscured this feature. The original profile of the earthworks has also been partly obscured by a now disused, grassy track which runs along the course of the infilled ditch at the south western end the monument. The modern fence which runs across the monument and the stile situated towards its north eastern end 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: 27030

Legacy System: RSM


Source 2 1964, RCHME, TQ 40 NW 8,

End of official listing