Iron Age defended settlement in Dunterue Wood, 570m south of Castle Head


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020273

Date first listed: 24-Apr-2002


Ordnance survey map of Iron Age defended settlement in Dunterue Wood, 570m south of Castle Head
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Dunterton

National Grid Reference: SX 38234 78053


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.

Despite some disturbance through forestry activities and the laying of a track, the partial defended settlement in Dunterue Wood, 570m south of Castle Head survives comparatively well. It will contain both archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction and use of the monument and its landscape context. It is likely to be an unusual example of an unfinished enclosure.


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


This monument includes part of an Iron Age defended settlement situated on a low lying spur within a meander of the River Tamar. The monument survives as a semicircular bank and ditch, which peters out to the south. The bank measures up to 4m wide and 2m high, whilst the outer ditch is up to 5m wide and 1m deep. The partially enclosed area measures up to 100m long from south west to north east by 55m wide from north west to south east. The enclosure is crossed by a later forest track, which cuts across the earthwork. The monument probably represents an unfinished enclosure. A promontary fort, 570m to the north, and another enclosure 500m to the north west may be associated with this monument and with what would have been a strategically important location in the later prehistoric period.

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: 35251

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX37NE506, (1996)

End of official listing