Hilltop enclosure 380m east of Middle Soar
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Nov-2019 at 16:55:18.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- South Hams (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 71530 37015
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
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.
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
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:
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)
RAF 10,000' survey, RAF, (1946)
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