Pilsdon Pen is the highest hill fort in Dorset, England.  The Early Iron Age archaeology has been largely destroyed due to later activity on the site. , The emergence of developed hill forts has been attributed to Iron Age society becoming more complex. Posted on July 11, 2020 by lizbetfry. Eggardon Hill is an Iron Age Hill Fort between Dorchester and Bridport. It overlooks the county town of Dorchester, Dorset, England. Pages in category "Hill forts in Dorset" The following 20 pages are in this category, out of 20 total.  Between 1934 and 1937, Mortimer Wheeler and Tessa Verney Wheeler excavated both the interior and the defences, work that was funded almost entirely by donations from the public. The earliest archaeological evidence of human activity on the site consists of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure and bank barrow.  Little evidence has been discovered for houses in Maiden Castle during the site's reconstruction in the 5th century BC; this is probably because the site has not been fully excavated and a quarry used to provide material for the rampart may have obliterated the evidence. Near Askerwell, Bridport, Eggardon Hill Fort has impressive 360 degree views across the county - on a clear day from there you can see right across Lyme Bay to South Devon and Start Point. Eggardon Hill is an iron-age hillfort which, arguably, has one of the finest views of any hill-fort in the county. Hod Hill is one of a chain of hill forts that extended from the port at Hengistbury. Fort Dorset Battery This was the first emplacement to be built at Point Dorset. Built about 2500 years ago it is now owned by the National Trust. , The first widespread investigation of hill forts was carried out in the second half of the 19th century under the direction of Augustus Pitt-Rivers, but it was not until the 1930s that Maiden Castle was methodically investigated, the first large-scale excavation of the interior of a hill fort. , Maiden Castle had been abandoned by the end of the 1st century, a time when Durnovaria (Dorchester) rose to prominence as the civitas, or regional capital, of the Durotriges, a Celtic tribe whose territory was in southwest England. At the same time, the defences around the eastern entrances were made more complex. It was occupied until at least the Roman period, by which time it was in the territory of the Durotriges, a Celtic tribe. This period of abandonment lasted until the Iron Age, when the hill fort was built. It has been suggested that Maiden Castle was occupied as a Roman military outpost or fort and the settlement discontinued, as there is no known fort in the area and it was not uncommon for hill forts in the southwest to have been occupied by Roman forces. 01 – Badbury Rings hillfort, Dorset. This was a characteristic of Vespasian's campaign in the region; there was military occupation at Cadbury Castle in Somerset, Hembury in Devon, and Hodd Hill in Dorset. Abbotsbury, Dorset. , Around 100 BC, Maiden Castle's organised street pattern was replaced by more random habitation. Part of the army then travelled to Maiden Castle and at Dorchester built a vexillation fort, before moving west towards Exeter. Pilsdon Pen Pilsdon Pen is the highest hill fort in Dorset, England. The 6-inch battery and its fire control post occupied a high point overlooking both the channel and the approaches to the harbour entrance. The site is in a strategic position, 380 feet (116 m) above sea level; Weymouth Bay is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to the south. , There are around 31 hill forts in Dorset; archaeologist Sharples, who undertook excavations at Maiden Castle, proposed that hill forts were used to control agricultural land to support a large community. 16/01/2019. Often standing in prominent isolation in the landscape, you can get a sense of their positional power whilst enjoying panoramic views across the countryside. Poundbury Hill hill fort (grid reference SY682911) is the site of a Middle Bronze Age enclosure. From the summit of the hill fort you can see across three counties – Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire – allowing a real sense of Hambledon’s prehistoric strategic importance and just why it’s considered one of the finest Iron Age hill forts in Dorset.  It has been suggested that this, and the contemporary change in material culture of the Britons (such as the introduction of coinage and cemeteries and an increase in craft industries), was caused by increased interaction with the Roman Empire. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hill forts in Dorset. OS map reference: SZ 077 979. Ref: 1/4-048821-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. An unpublished RCHME survey suggests the presence of at least nine roundhouses. It's also an old smuggling spot - in the 18th century, Isaac Gulliver took advantage of the hill's commanding position and created a small plantation of trees to act as a landmark for his ships and help guide them to the coast. Built more than 2,000 years ago, Hambledon Hill, near Blandford Forum in Dorset, rises to 190m (620ft). 20.33 acres (8.226 hectares), shaped a somewhat like a squished pear. , Archaeologist Barry Cunliffe believes that population increase still played a role and has stated that, "[the forts] provided defensive possibilities for the community at those times when the stress [of an increasing population] burst out into open warfare. Hambledon Hill. Flint tools over 10,000 years old and two Bronze Age burial mounds are evidence that the site was in use long before the hill fort was built. Although Dunium has long been thought to refer to Maiden Castle, Hod Hill and Hengistbury have been identified as two other possible sites for Dunium.  On the industrial site, more than 62 kg (137 lb) of iron slag was discovered in an area of 30 m2 (320 sq ft), and it is believed the site produced around 200 kg (440 lb) of iron. The hill fort itself is about 2,500 years old, but originally there were two Bronze Age burial mounds on the summit. OS map reference: SY 5302 9195. Maiden Castle in Dorset is one of the largest and most complex Iron Age hillforts in Europe - the size of 50 football pitches. The Royal Commission for Historic Monuments (England) have surveyed the ramparts and the interior. There is evidence for activity on the site in the form of a few post-Roman or Anglo Saxon burials, some possibly Christian, but the hill fort was not reused as a settlement.  Techniques such as radiocarbon dating were available to Sharples that were unavailable to Wheeler, allowing the site to be dated. of the internal character of the various hill-fort types represented in Wessex. , In AD 43, the Roman conquest of Britain began. Run solo or as part of a team. This would explain the limited human activity on the hilltop for the 500 years after the bank barrow's construction. Expansive views and hidden valleys, an exquisite village and a historic hill-fort are some of the ingredients in this circular walk, starting on the summit of Dorset's downs and descending into the Marshwood Vale. It overlooks the county town of Dorchester, Dorset, England. About.  Early in the Iron Age, most of the pottery found at Maiden Castle was produced locally – within about 15 km (9.3 mi) – however later on sources further afield became more important, and by the Late Iron Age 95% of the pottery came from the area around Poole Harbour, more than 35 mi (56 km) away. It seems likely there was a major trade route to/from there that extended north to Dudsbury Camp, Badbury Rings, Spetisbury Rings, Hod Hill and Hambledon Hill. Eggardon Hill. The main entrance to the fort is on the eastern end. Eggardon Hill Fort – Dorset.  The bank barrow survived into the Iron Age as a low mound, and throughout this period construction over it was avoided.. people, although we do know that in Dorset the local tribe was called the Durotriges, and in neighbouring Devon, the Dumnonii. Near Askerwell, Bridport, Eggardon Hill Fort has impressive 360 degree views across the county - on a clear day from there you can see right across Lyme Bay to South Devon and Start Point. Stunning panoramic views across West Dorset and the Jurassic Coast but the bracing air also make it a great place for flying a kite, striding along the ramparts and feeling on top of the world. Nearby were two other buildings: a rectangular building 7.9 m × 5.5 m (26 ft × 18 ft) with two rooms that may have been a house for a priest, and a circular building that may have been a shrine. The project has been part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.  Such change is not as obvious in Dorset as it is in the rest of Britain, but there is a trend for abandonment of hill forts in the area and a proliferation of small undefended farmsteads, indicating a migration of the population. Take the view from the top, tune into nature all around you, and look for the footprints of the Iron Age round houses at your feet while you walk. As there was no local source of tin and copper ore, this demonstrates long distance trade, probably with the southwest. Banbury Hill is a univallate Early Iron Age hillfort enclosing approx. After taking a number of hillforts of the local Durotriges tribe a 41.5 acre legionary fort was built at Lake Farm near Wimborne.  Today, the site is in the civil parish of Winterborne Monkton at grid reference SY66938848..  A more recent explanation has been advanced by Richard Coates suggesting that the name is only of medieval origin, and was applied simultaneously to the considerable number of identically named locations around the country. In about 1800 BC, during the Bronze Age, the site was used for growing crops before being abandoned. The hill itself is a Chalk outcrop, on the south western corner of Cranborne Chase, separated from the Dorset Downs by the River Stour. The later houses appear to be organised in rows, and to be roughly similar in size, a reorganisation which indicates the increasing power of the elites over Iron Age society.  It appears that houses were not built near the ramparts until after the defences were complete.  This long-range trade has been taken as evidence for increasing relationships with groups of people over large areas and the emergence of tribal identities. Hambledon Hill, Dorset. Eggardon Hill, Bridport, UK. We found 9 answers for the crossword clue Hill fort in Dorset. View Details. , In the Early Iron Age, Maiden Castle was generally unexceptional; it was one of over 100 hill forts of similar size built around the same time in the area that is now Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, and Wiltshire. Many 1st-century Roman artefacts have been discovered near the east entrance and in the centre of the hill fort. Iron Age hillfort and large Bronze Age round barrow. A summer's evening walk on Hambledon Hill, Dorsets hillforts, a visitors guide (PDF / 2.7MB), Hambledon's archaeology and wildlife to benefit from grant.  According to archaeologist Niall Sharples it is, by some definitions, the largest in western Europe.  The reason for their emergence in Britain, and their purpose, has been a subject of debate. From Coombe Valley Road drive into the small ancient quarry, turn right and drive through the gate but please close it behind you. At the same time, the western half of the site was abandoned and occupation was concentrated in the east of the fort. Arrowheads discovered in the ditches may indicate that activity at the enclosure met a violent end. Location. Banbury Hill, Dorset. Dorset may be home to several hill forts, but this one is unique. Wheeler's use of the media to disseminate information about the site resulted in Maiden Castle becoming well known. Excavations by archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler in this area revealed several houses, storage pits, an area used for iron working, and a cemetery. Abbotsbury, Dorset. , Across Britain, many hill forts fell out of use in the 100 years around the turn of the millennium. It has been argued that they could have been defensive sites constructed in response to invasion from continental Europe, built by invaders, or a military reaction to social tensions caused by an increasing population and resulting pressure on agriculture. Maiden Castle: Hill fort - See 369 traveler reviews, 161 candid photos, and great deals for Dorchester, UK, at Tripadvisor. This is Maiden Castle, an Iron Age hill fort in Dorset, which historians believe was built almost three thousand years ago. Abbotsbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort in south west Dorset, England, situated on Wears Hill above the village of Abbotsbury, seven miles west of Dorchester and the famous hill fort at Maiden Castle. Built more than 2000 years ago, Hambledon Hill was a key settlement of the Durotriges tribe who dominated Dorset. Although bronze was not produced at Maiden Castle, there is evidence of it being reworked. Stunning panoramic views across West Dorset and the Jurassic Coast but the bracing air also make it a great place for flying a kite, striding along the ramparts and feeling on top of the world. It has been argued that they could have been defensive sites constructed in response to invasion from continental Europe, built by invaders, or a military reaction to social tensions caused by an increasing population and resulting pressure on agriculture. Contour Hillfort.  The only other significant activity on the hill top after the Romans was a short period of cultivation in the 17th century, as demonstrated by traces of ridge and furrow caused by ploughing.. Today, this fortified hill-top offers beautiful views of the landscape. Dorset Cycling Weekend. Grid reference: SY544866; The area was initially enclosed by a single bank and ditch, with the bank standing 2.7 m (8.9 ft) high although the ditch was shallow. After the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century AD, Maiden Castle appears to have been abandoned, although the Romans may have had a military presence on the site. 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