Rampart of an Iron Age defended settlement 410m south west of Mount Scylla Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019508

Date first listed: 17-Jun-1970

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Jan-2001


Ordnance survey map of Rampart of an Iron Age defended settlement 410m south west of Mount Scylla Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Colerne

National Grid Reference: ST 83216 74397


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

Reasons for Designation

During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were constructed and occupied in south western England. At the top of the settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group. Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south western England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are likely to be identified as nationally important.

Although only the rampart is known, this portion of the Iron Age defended settlement 410m south west of Mount Scylla Farm represents a well-preserved example of this rare monument type, providing an important insight into the late prehistoric settlement of this area. It was recorded in the 18th century by the antiquarian John Aubrey and was, in earlier times, thought to have been a cross-ridge dyke, a form of prehistoric boundary. However, more recent archaeological investigations have confirmed its interpretation as an Iron Age rampart.


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


The monument includes the rampart of an Iron Age defended settlement defining the eastern edge of a spur of Oolitic limestone on the west side of the valley of the By Brook. The location commands extensive views to the north east and south west across the valley as the brook meanders around a spur to the west of Slaughterford. The earthwork consists of two straight sections joining at a slight angle. It is situated at the top of a relatively gentle slope to the east, ending where it joins a much steeper slope to the south. The northern section runs north west to south east for 115m and consists of a rampart but no ditch. Since the section is located on sloping ground, the rampart measures 0.1m high from the western side and 2m from the eastern side. This section forms a field boundary and is surmounted by the remains of a later dry stone wall. The section to the south runs from NNE to SSW for 140m ending at a point at which the slope to the south becomes very steep. It comprises a bank up to 0.3m high from the west and 2.8m high from the east. The bank is 8.4m wide and is flanked to the east by a ditch 7m wide and up to 0.5m deep, beyond which a slight counterscarp bank up to 0.2m high is visible in places. To the south the bank and ditch are crossed by a modern track at the top of the southern slope. Together with the steep slope to the south and the north, the earthwork defines an area of about 3ha, although the full extent of the monument to the west is not known. The site is mentioned by the antiquarian John Aubrey who describes it as a `rampard with graffe (ditch) eastward, but no camp'. All fenceposts and walls 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: 34190

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Aubrey, , Jackson, , Wiltshire Collections, (1862), 76

End of official listing