Hilltop enclosure 380m east of Middle Soar

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019533

Date first listed: 09-May-2001

Map

Ordnance survey map of Hilltop enclosure 380m east of Middle Soar
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Malborough

National Grid Reference: SX 71530 37015

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Hilltop enclosures are defined as sub-rectangular or elongated areas of ground, usually between 10ha and 40ha in size, situated on hilltops or plateaux and surrounded by slight univallate earthworks. They date to between the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth-fifth centuries BC) and are usually interpreted as stock enclosures or sites where agricultural produce was stored. Many examples of hilltop enclosures may have developed into more strongly defended sites later in the Iron Age period and are therefore often difficult to recognise in their original form. The earthworks generally consist of a bank separated from an external ditch by a level berm. Access to the interior was generally provided by two or three entrances which consisted of simple gaps in the rampart. Evidence for internal features is largely dependent on excavation, and to date this has included large areas of sparsely scattered features including post and stakeholes, hearths and pits. Rectangular or square buildings are also evident; these are generally defined by between four and six postholes and are thought to have supported raised granaries. Hilltop enclosures are rare, with between 25 and 30 examples recorded nationally. A greater number may exist but these could have been developed into hillforts later in the Iron Age and could only be confirmed by detailed survey or excavation. The majority of known examples are located in two regions, on the chalk downland of Wessex and Sussex and in the Cotswolds. More scattered examples are found in north-east Oxfordshire and north Northamptonshire. This class of monument has not been recorded outside England. In view of the rarity of hilltop enclosures and their importance in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Despite damage to its ramparts due to cultivation, the hilltop enclosure 380m east of Middle Soar is a rare survival. Its surrounding bank, ditch and interior contain archaeological and environmental information relating to its use and to the contemporary landscape.

History

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

Details

This monument includes a circular prehistoric hilltop enclosure on a gentle south facing slope, with views down a short valley and along the coast to the east. It lies within a coaxial field system, a relict part of which is the subject of a separate scheduling. The enclosure measures 81m in diameter across its visible earthworks and is surrounded by an earthen bank 12m wide, surviving between 0.3m high on the north side and 0.6m high on the south. A buried ditch up to 5m wide and visible on aerial photographs surrounds the bank, surviving as an earthwork up to 0.15m deep on the west side. A later hedgebank crosses the eastern edge of the site.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 33781

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)
RAF 10,000' survey, RAF, (1946)

End of official listing