Hilltop enclosure known as Maristow Camp, 240m east of Middle Park House

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019784

Date first listed: 20-Jul-2001

Map

Ordnance survey map of Hilltop enclosure known as Maristow Camp, 240m east of Middle Park House
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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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: Bickleigh

National Grid Reference: SX 49511 64287

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 slight damage to its ramparts, the hilltop enclosure known as Maristow Camp is well preserved. Its ramparts, surrounding ditch and interior contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the enclosure and the landscape in which it was built.

History

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

Details

This monument includes an Iron Age hilltop enclosure located on an east to west ridge, west of Roborough Down. It survives as an oval enclosure defined by a rampart and outer ditch. It is aligned from north to south with an interior 96m long by 73m wide. The rampart measures between 8m and 10m wide and is from 0.5m to 0.8m high, rising to 1.2m at the north end. The outer ditch is 8m wide by 0.3m to 0.5m deep. A slight upcast bank is visible on the north west side, 4m wide by up to 0.2m high. One original entrance is on the west side, with enlarged ramparts and a wider ditch to its north, while the south east entrance has an inturned rampart terminal on its south side. A 19th century carriage drive passes through this entrance, but exits via a causeway across the rampart in the south west corner. This drive crosses the monument on a causeway 8m wide by 0.8m high. A later field boundary follows the east and south west sides of the enclosure. The outer ditch of the enclosure is faintly visible in the field outside this boundary, where it is 8m wide and up to 0.4m deep. Subsequent enclosure of the monument within parkland of the post-medieval period is represented by large oak pollards which still grow on the ramparts. Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts and track surfacings, although the ground beneath them 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 33770

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
Fieldwork by RJ Silvester, Silvester, RJ, (1977)
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (1999)

End of official listing