Dumpdon Camp


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018851

Date first listed: 26-Jun-1924

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Nov-1998


Ordnance survey map of Dumpdon Camp
© 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.
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 - 1018851 .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 19-Jan-2019 at 10:08:28.


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

County: Devon

District: East Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Luppitt

National Grid Reference: ST 17597 04033


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.

Dumpdon Camp is unusual in having provided archaeological evidence for the constructional processes undertaken in the provision of a defensive circuit for an Iron Age hillfort. It will retain further evidence of its method of construction and the infilled and waterlogged ditches at the northern end of the monument are likely to preserve archaeological information relating to the period and the landscape in which the monument was constructed. Although their contemporaneity is uncertain, the Dumpdon hillfort should be viewed in relation to, and in comparison with, the hillfort at Hembury which lies only 6km to its south west and where Iron Age occupation is attested.


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


The monument includes Dumpdon Camp, a prehistoric hillfort located on a detached hill, 260m high, at the southern end of a steep-sided ridge of Upper Greensand between the River Otter and the Luppitt Brook. The flat topped and triangular shaped hillfort of 2.6ha was defended by two substantial ramparts and ditches on the northern side, controlling the only easy line of approach, and by single ramparts on the east and west sides. A single inturned entrance on the north east side provided the only known point of entry. The layout of the defences largely reflects the configuration of the hilltop which is flattest and widest towards its northern end, narrowing down to a steep sided point at its southern end. The northern approach required the strongest artificial protection and here the defences were bivallate with a berm 30m wide separating two ramparts and their accompanying ditches. The inner rampart is on average 1.3m in height on the interior with an average width of 4.5m. It has a depth on the outer slope of 8.3m and is fronted by a ditch which is mostly filled and waterlogged but which has an average width of 4.7m. The outer rampart is on average 1.2m in height and 3.1m in width. It is fronted by a well defined ditch which has an average width of 3.5m and in places is up to 1.35m deep. The remaining two sides of the monument were defended along part of their length by a single rampart and a single ditch of much smaller dimensions than those on the northern side and with a small counterscarp bank on the outer side of the ditch. Controlled excavations have demonstrated that the base of the eastern rampart was constructed of sizeable chert blocks forming a wall 2.15m wide and 0.4m high; it was noted in the same excavation report that the unexcavated western rampart becomes less distinct and breaks up into a series of small dumps. It has been suggested by the excavator, Professor Todd, that the defences were never completed and that only the rampart base was constructed along part of the western and eastern sides before work ceased. The fading out of the defensive ditch at about the same place as the rampart base on both sides of the monument would support this view. The hillfort was however provided with a single 20m long inturned entrance close to the north east angle; this comprised a 7m wide causeway flanked by low banks between the ditch ends. The thickened end of the southern rampart may have been intended as a fighting platform covering the approach in front of the gate. A gap in the northern defences is considered to be modern. The interior of the hillfort is featureless and limited excavations in the interior have revealed no signs of occupation. The suggestion is that Dumpdon hillfort was neither finished nor fully occupied.

All fencing, fence posts, gates, gate posts, the concrete trigonometry point, and the Rotary Club commemorative plaque are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all of 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: 29661

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Fox, A, Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon, (1996), 32-33
Hutchinson, P O, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in Hill Fortresses, Slingstones And Other Antiquities in SE Devon, , Vol. 2 part 2, (1868), 372-73
Todd, M, 'Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society' in The Hillfort of Dumpdon, , Vol. 50, (1992), 47-52
Wall, J C, 'A History of the County of Devon (Victoria County History)' in Ancient Earthworks, , Vol. I, (1906), 582-83

End of official listing