Hillfort and later strip lynchets on Dungeon Hill, 500m north of Castle Hill Cottages


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016895

Date first listed: 26-Oct-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Aug-1999


Ordnance survey map of Hillfort and later strip lynchets on Dungeon Hill, 500m north of Castle Hill Cottages
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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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 - 1016895 .pdf

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

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Glanvilles Wootton

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Buckland Newton

National Grid Reference: ST 69027 07438


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.

The hillfort on Dungeon Hill is a well preserved example of its class and is known from partial excavation to contain archaeological evidence relating to its construction, the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived. Lynchets appear as parallel terraces which are most commonly seen on steep hillsides. They provide distinctive traces of medieval agricultural activities in downland areas, indicating the level of intensity of land use and farming practices through time. The lynchets situated on the eastern side of the hillfort will contain archaeological deposits providing evidence for economy and the environment during the medieval period


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


The monument includes a large univallate hillfort on the summit of a low, but locally prominent hill, along with four lynchets. The hillfort has a bank and an external ditch enclosing an irregular oval area of about 7ha. The bank is 7m wide and on average 1.5m high above the interior, although the south west corner and northern end appears slightly enhanced rising to 2.4m. The external ditch is 13m wide and 2m deep, up to 6m deep from its base to the crest of the bank. There are slight traces of an outer bank on the eastern side of the hillfort, 7m wide and 0.8m high, and there is a simple causeway entrance at the southern end, about 3m wide, which has been partly disturbed to widen the access in more recent times. Towards the northern end there are two opposing modern entrances over causeways across the ditch and under brick tunnels constructed through the rampart. The parish boundary kinks around the western side of the hillfort and is marked by a hedge bank which runs along the outer edge of the ditch. In the late 18th century the owner, Mr Foy, cleared the woodland on the site and found, among other remains, human bones, sword blades and Roman coins. Partial excavations across the bank in 1881 recovered Roman pottery and quern fragments and large quantities of building stone. Roman tiles were found in the interior. Adjacent to the hillfort on the east facing slope of the hill and included in the scheduling, are four lynchets creating terraces, probably for cultivation in the medieval period. The bottom three terraces are closer together, and the lowest has an extension creating a small platform on the edge half way along its length. All fence and gate posts, the brick arches and the barn are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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: 31072

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cunnington, E, 'Proceedings of the Dorset Nat Hist and Archaeology Society' in Dungeon of Dunset Camp, , Vol. 21, (1901), 203-204

End of official listing