Little Hangman and Challacombe Common, Exmoor National Park: Two Possible Earlier Neolithic Enclosures on Western Exmoor

Author(s): Hazel Riley

Little Hangman lies on the north-western edge of Exmoor National Park, within the parish of Combe Martin, Devon. The hill is a significant local landscape feature with a distinctive conical shape and dramatic coastal position. An enclosure on Little Hangman was discovered during the Exmoor National Mapping Programme (NMP) survey. It was interpreted as a prehistoric enclosure and tentatively ascribed to the Neolithic period. Given its potential importance, in 2009 English Heritage’s former Archaeological Survey and Investigation team (Exeter), at the request of the National Trust Regional Archaeologist and the Exmoor National Park Archaeologist, carried out an analytical earthwork survey and photographic record of the site and undertook research to establish its chronological and cultural context. Morphologically, the enclosure on Little Hangman shares many characteristics with two hilltop monument types found in South West England: Neolithic tor enclosures and Cornish ‘cliff castles’, promontory forts usually attributed to later prehistory. This report combines the evidence from Little Hangman with the results of rapid survey work looking at another Exmoor enclosure - a small rectangular enclosure on Challacombe Common - to suggest that the western part of Exmoor was important in the landscape of the earlier Neolithic period in the South West.

Report Number:
Research Report
Neolithic Analytical Landscape Survey Enclosure


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