|There is a cluster of hill forts in this part of Hampshire of which Danebury is the largest. Baulkesbury, more or less destroyed, Bury Hill and to the E. of the Test Valley, Tidsbury, Norsebury and Woolbury .
Danebury is interesting for the fact that it started as a sacred site, developed into a fortified hill then became a thriving hill town until the Romans came.
A circle of large posts was erected in Bronze Age times then in the 6C BCE the hill seems to have been lightly fortified with a single ditch and bank, a timber revetment and outer earthworks used as cattle enclosures while the people lived in a scatter of round huts.
In the 4C BCE the pattern of occupation changed, the fortifications were strenghtened by elaborate diversions at the E. entrance, a second line of ramparts was erected, watch towers were built and large stocks of sling stones were kept. The town itself was more planned with maintained tracks and the houses were often rectangular. Trade thrived, probably in cattle and twenty or so iron currency bars have been found.
The death customs were curious for the time as bodies just seem to have been thrown out with the rubbish or chucked unceremoniously into pits.
From the number and size of the grain storage pits excavated it is suggested that the town comfortably supported a population of at least a thousand people.
After 100 BCE the town was deserted and Danebury reverted to being a refuge in dangerous times.
Posted by jimit
20th April 2003ce
Edited 21st March 2007ce