Warham Camp small multivallate fort


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018015

Date first listed: 26-Jun-1924

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Apr-1998


Ordnance survey map of Warham Camp small multivallate fort
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Norfolk

District: North Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Warham

County: Norfolk

District: North Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Wighton

National Grid Reference: TF 94316 40802, TF 94374 40886


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

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.

The known examples of earthwork enclosures in Norfolk which correspond to the hillforts of the upland regions of England are relatively few in number and most were constructed in low-lying, though naturally defensible locations. All but one of them are located in the north western part of the county. Warham Camp, which is visually the most impressive of these, is the only example of a small multivallate fort in this part of East Anglia and differs from the majority of monuments of this type, not only in the location, on the lower edge of a valley slope, but in the symmetry of the upstanding earthworks which define the greater part of the enclosure. Limited excavations have demonstrated that these earthworks contain evidence for the date and manner of construction of the fort, including the remains of timber structures, and evidence for the occupation and use of the enclosure will also be preserved in buried features in the subsoil of the interior. The buried ditches on the south western side, adjacent to the river, are thought to contain waterlogged deposits in which organic materials, including evidence for the local environment at the time of this occupation, are also likely to be preserved. The monument is associated with a rectangular ditched enclosure, thought also to be of Iron Age date, the buried remains of which lie 270m to the north east in an adjacent field and are the subject of a separate scheduling. It has wider importance in relation to the other surviving Iron Age forts in the area, which include two slight univallate forts at Holkham, 7.75km to the north west, and at South Creake, 11km to the south west respectively. As a group these are a source of comparative information of great value for the study of Iron Age settlement and society in this part of East Anglia.


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


The monument, which is in two areas separated by the channel of the River Stiffkey, includes the earthwork enclosure known as Warham Camp, situated on the lower part of a south west facing slope above the flood plain of the river. The river formerly ran in a curve to the west and south west of the enclosure but was diverted, probably soon after the beginning of the 18th century, into the present channel which is cut across the south western edge of the earthworks. The older course is now infilled, but can be traced as a crop mark recorded on aerial photographs. Small-scale excavations at Warham Camp carried out by St George Grey in 1914 and by R R Clarke in 1959 produced finds of pottery and metalwork which are evidence for occupation of the enclosure during the Iron Age and into the Roman period, up to the 2nd century AD. The enclosure, identified as a small multivallate fort, is circular, with an internal diameter of approximately 130m, surrounded by a double bank and ditches except on the south west side, where the banks have been levelled. The overall diameter is approximately 212m. The banks diminish in height towards the south west, probably as a result of deliberate landscaping when the course of the river was diverted, but elsewhere the outer bank is approximately 2.7m and the inner bank approximately 3m in height. The outer ditch and the inner ditch between the two banks have become partly infilled, but remain open to a depth of between 1.75m and 3m. The excavations have shown that they are both flat-bottomed and that the outer ditch on the north east side of the enclosure is up to 4m deep, measured from the prevailing ground surface. The investigation by Clarke of parts of the inner and outer banks revealed that they are of dump construction, built of glaciated chalk dug from the ditches, and also produced evidence for a timber structure on the crest of the inner bank, thought to have been a palisade with a platform to the rear, as well as traces of a timber revetment on the inner face. A trench excavated by Clarke on the opposite, south western side of the river, confirmed that the earthworks originally continued around that side of the enclosure and that the lower parts of the ditches survive there as buried features some 11.2m apart, the remains of the outer ditch being about 2m wide and at least 0.7m deep and those of the inner ditch about 1.5m wide and 0.45m deep. The earthworks are interrupted by openings, with causeways, on the north western, and southern sides, but the excavations in 1914 and 1959 confirmed that these are of later construction. A narrower, staggered entrance on the eastern side may be an original feature, but it is thought that the original main entrance was probably on the south western side. The Iron Age ditched enclosure which lies 270m to the north east is the subject of a separate scheduling.

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: 30532

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Gregory, T, Gurney, G, 'East Anglian Archaeol' in Excavations at Thornham, Warham, Wighton & Caistor, Norfolk, , Vol. 30, (1986), 22-26
St George Gray, H, 'Antiq J' in Trial excavations in the so-called `Danish Camp' at Warham ..., , Vol. 4, (1933), 399-413
Letter in file, Green, N W B, 1828, (1994)

End of official listing