Small multivallate hillfort on Round Hill


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Small multivallate hillfort on Round Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Sep-2019 at 22:53:27.


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

North Yorkshire
Scarborough (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NZ 67597 04792

Reasons for Designation

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. In view of the rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Round Hill hillfort is a good example of its type, and is typical of those found in Northern England, being relatively slight when compared to the visually more impressive hillforts of Wessex.


The monument includes the earthworks of a small hillfort occupying a promontory above Tower Beck within the infields of Westerdale. The enclosed area of the hillfort is roughly oval, with its major axis orientated NNW to SSE and measuring 140m long, with the minor axis approximately 70m long. The area is defined by a sharp top break of slope on all but the SSE part of the circuit. On the western side 0.5m to 1m below this top break of slope there is a narrow bench typically 2m wide before the land surface runs steeply downhill. This bench broadens to 8m-10m wide on the north east part of the circuit and its surface indicates that it is formed from an infilled ditch with a degraded bank on the outside edge. South of this area, beyond a field boundary, the hillside is not as steep. The bench, which by this point starts about 2m below the top break of slope, contains a definite ditch with a bank on its outside, eastern side. However, the ditch and bank is not continuous and for 60m-70m south of the field boundary there are four separate sections on slightly different alignments. This section then merges with the south eastern part of the circuit which extends for about 40m north of a drystone wall. The hillside for this part of the circuit is gently sloping and includes two definite ditches running parallel with each other along the hillside with a slight bank on their downhill sides and a low third bank beyond, further downhill. The bases of the two ditches are approximately 6m apart and they are 1.5m-1.8m deep on the uphill side, 0.4m-0.5m on the downhill side. The promontory that forms Round Hill is linked to the valley side by a saddle-shaped spur to the SSE. The pasture in this area has been improved in the past and it is considered that archaeological remains of the hillfort's ditches will survive as infilled features in this area. Excluded from the scheduling is all modern fencing and drystone walling, 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.

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Legacy System:


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

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