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Dumpdon Hill



MONUMENT: Dumpdon Camp
The monument includes Dumpdon Camp, a prehistoric hillfort located on a
detached hill, 260m high, at the southern end of a steep-sided ridge of Upper
Greensand between the River Otter and the Luppitt Brook. The flat topped and
triangular shaped hillfort of 2.6ha was defended by two substantial ramparts
and ditches on the northern side, controlling the only easy line of approach,
and by single ramparts on the east and west sides. A single inturned entrance
on the north east side provided the only known point of entry.
The layout of the defences largely reflects the configuration of the hilltop
which is flattest and widest towards its northern end, narrowing down to a
steep sided point at its southern end. The northern approach required the
strongest artificial protection and here the defences were bivallate with a
berm 30m wide separating two ramparts and their accompanying ditches. The
inner rampart is on average 1.3m in height on the interior with an average
width of 4.5m. It has a depth on the outer slope of 8.3m and is fronted by a
ditch which is mostly filled and waterlogged but which has an average width of
4.7m. The outer rampart is on average 1.2m in height and 3.1m in width. It is
fronted by a well defined ditch which has an average width of 3.5m and in
places is up to 1.35m deep. The remaining two sides of the monument were
defended along part of their length by a single rampart and a single ditch of
much smaller dimensions than those on the northern side and with a small
counterscarp bank on the outer side of the ditch. Controlled excavations have
demonstrated that the base of the eastern rampart was constructed of sizeable
chert blocks forming a wall 2.15m wide and 0.4m high; it was noted in the same
excavation report that the unexcavated western rampart becomes less distinct
and breaks up into a series of small dumps. It has been suggested by the
excavator, Professor Todd, that the defences were never completed and that
only the rampart base was constructed along part of the western and eastern
sides before work ceased. The fading out of the defensive ditch at about the
same place as the rampart base on both sides of the monument would support
this view. The hillfort was however provided with a single 20m long inturned
entrance close to the north east angle; this comprised a 7m wide causeway
flanked by low banks between the ditch ends. The thickened end of the southern
rampart may have been intended as a fighting platform covering the approach in
front of the gate. A gap in the northern defences is considered to be modern.
The interior of the hillfort is featureless and limited excavations in the
interior have revealed no signs of occupation. The suggestion is that Dumpdon
hillfort was neither finished nor fully occupied.
jimit Posted by jimit
19th December 2004ce

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