Hillfort and two bowl barrows at Halwell Camp
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Nov-2019 at 13:18:56.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- South Hams (District Authority)
- Halwell and Moreleigh
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 78428 53216
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.
Despite some damage to the ramparts, the hillfort at Halwell Camp will retain important features relating to the development and use of the site. Stratified archaeological deposits are likely to survive in the ditches, ramparts and interior of this previously unexcavated hillfort and will be of considerable importance to the future understanding of this monument, and hillforts in general. Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400 - 1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. The two bowl barrows to the north of Halwell camp form part of a linear cemetery containing six barrows in all, whose relationship with the hillfort suggests a continuity of use of this area over two millennia.
The monument includes a sub-circular slight univallate hillfort, divided into
two parts by the Dartmouth to Halwell road which passes through it from east
to west, and two earlier Late Neolithic to Late Bronze Age bowl barrows.
North of the road the hillfort's rampart survives in good condition. It rises
steeply to a minimum of 1m from the interior, the highest point being 2m in
the north west corner, and falls abruptly 2m to 3m into the traces of an
external ditch. The width of this ditch varies from 9m on the north west side
to 13m on the east. Three clear entrances are visible, to the north, east and
west. None of these appear original, as all climb the rampart to some extent.
An oblique cut across the rampart in the north east corner represents a
fourth entrance, but this is very recent. Along the east side, a hedgebank
runs along the top of the rampart.
South of the road, the south east quadrant has been levelled by ploughing. The
rampart here is visible only as a 0.2m rise in ground level, while the ditch
is about 0.1m deep. This deepens to about 0.2m on the eastern side where it
passes beneath the roadside hedgebank. The south east quadrant is better
preserved with the rampart surviving within a hedgebank. This rises 1m from
the fort's interior. On the outside edge, the rampart rises from the traces of
an external ditch 1.8m deep on the south side and about 2.3m deep on the west.
The ditch here is largely levelled by ploughing, but is visible to about 0.2m
Within the roadside hedgebanks and on the verges, further remains of the
ramparts survive. On the south verge on the west side of the fort, the rampart
has been reduced in height, but the ditch survives to about 1.5m deep and 25m
wide. North of this, a bank isolated when the road was straightened in the
1940s, preserves a fragment of rampart about 2m long. This rises about 0.7m
from the interior and falls about 1.5m to the former ditch. A field gate in
the hedgebank north of the road is in the position of the outer ditch.
In the field immediately north of the fort, cropmarks are visible representing
the surviving remains of two bowl barrows. These are centred 22m and 56m from
the rampart. They continue the line of a further four barrows, visible in
fields immediately to the north, forming the subject of a separate
scheduling (SM38747), and together representing a round barrow cemetery. The
northern barrow has been levelled, its cropmark being 17m in diameter. The
southern barrow is represented by a faint earthwork about 0.2m high and 18m in
diameter, and is only 5m from the outer edge of the hillfort ditch.
The modern road surface is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath it 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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Slater, T, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in Controlling the South Hams: The Anglo Saxon Burh at Halwell, , Vol. 123, (1991), 57-78
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (1999)
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