Hillfort at Castle Piece
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1016716
Date first listed: 13-Sep-1963
Date of most recent amendment: 25-Jun-2001
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: New Forest (District Authority)
Parish: Ellingham, Harbridge and Ibsley
National Park: NEW FOREST
National Grid Reference: SU 19902 08932
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 Castle Piece survives particularly well as a substantial earthwork and, despite some limited disturbance from a trackway, will retain archaeological information relating to its construction and use. In addition, the old land surfaces sealed beneath the ramparts are likely to contain well-preserved environmental evidence pertaining to the contemporary landscape within which the hillfort was constructed. The hillfort's location within a public access area gives it significance as a potential public amenity.
The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated on the western
slopes of a gravel spur within the New Forest. The hillfort is sub-circular in
plan and has ramparts constructed of a sandy, gravelly clay which enclose an
area of roughly 2ha. The ramparts follow the contours of the hillslope and are
broadest on the southern side of the enclosure, measuring approximately 17m in
width at their base, and up to 1.5m in height. In comparison the ramparts on
the western side are relatively slight. A marked inturn within the south
eastern rampart, either side of a break approximately 8m in width, probably
indicates the location of the original entrance, whilst slight traces of an
external ditch are visible at the base of the south eastern and north eastern
ramparts. The ditch at the base of the north eastern rampart also has evidence
of a slight counterscarp bank. The hillfort has been partially disturbed by a
trackway which bisects its eastern side.
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: 30271
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Sumner, H, The Ancient Earthworks of the New Forest, (1917)
Hampshire County Council, SU 10 NE 7,
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