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Eggardon Hill



Details of Hill Fort on Pastscape

CAMP [OE] (1) Iron Age Hill Fort. (2)
A hillfort consisting of 3 ramparts with 2 medial ditches, except at the N.W. and E. where entrances occur. The N.W. entrance has an additional outer bank, ditch and counterscarp across the ridge, merging into the main line of defence. The entrance is staggered from one line of defence to the next. At the E. end the main rampart is higher than elsewhere, and has an outer ditch and counterscarp bank. The entrance ways are again staggered, and in the outer rampart, inturned. "On the S. side of the hillfort an extensive landslip carried away the whole of the defences on the middle of this face; this was remedied by digging a wide trench in the E. part of the fallen material, and, reinstating the outer ditch and bank below it." This part of the earthwork does not connect with the earlier defences. A further bank thrown up at the foot of the hill covers roughly the lateral extent of the landslip. Through this bank the diagonal approach to the S.E. entrance turns outwards and southwards. There is no visible evidence that the multiple defences were preceded by a simpler system. Apart from the rebuilding of the S. side, evidence of a structural sequence has been noted at the N.W. end, where the alteration of the position of the outer entrance coincided with the addition of an outer enclosure.
Within the hillfort are 2 large mounds, probably barrows and a number of small irregular mounds. There are traces of banks, perhaps of enclosures, and many hollows, 4 to 5 yds in diameter. In 1900 five of these hollows were excavated, and found to be pits from 5ft. 6ins to 6ft. 8ins deep. In them were found a flint knife, saw, scrapers and numerous flakes (4a). The octagonal enclosure bank within the hillfort is the boundary of a former coppice planted to serve as a sea-mark. (4)
[Additional references]; (5) the floor of the camp is strewn
with pit dwellings; other information similar. (6)
A sherd and a rock hone from Eggardon, presented by Mr W. Butcher, Higher Sturthill, Shipton Gorge. Acc. No. 1954.29. (7)
"Fosses, mounds and pit-circles occur both within and without "the fortifications of the hill-fort," and one remarkable pit circle consisting of two distinct depressions connected by a common entrance". (9)
In an early excavation of one of the hut circles a broken quern was found by Mr Prideaux. (10)
Reference to a treble row of depressions, some sixty in number, which existed "behind the top vallum". The depressions were later destroyed by gravel digging. (11)
[Reference (4)a checked: flints and flakes and pits classified Neolithic; but "no pit is cut by the walls of the camp."].
Eggardun has at least yielded apparent IA 'A' material, though complex defences suggest a sequence of occupations and plans. Its excavators considered it Ne. but this was before the recognition of true Ne. features in either earthwork or pottery. Its pit dwellings are I.A 'A' and the associated flint industry occurs elsewhere in I.A. settlements, though the variations of its prevalance have yet to be explained. Invaders from the W - I.A. 'B' - perhaps remodelled the hillfort. (12)
This hillfort is well described in TA (4) and depicted in the photo-plan. The O.S. 1/2500 is generally correct; a minor scarp shown on the photo-plan on the S. part of the ramparts (lettered A-B on sheet) appears to be caused by natural soil-creep. The condition of the hillfort is good, with strong multiple banks and ditches and staggered entrances. The area enclosed by the ramparts is ploughed in the N. half, but the S. half is under pasture. Scores of surface depressions (from T4, IA 'A' pits) are visible over the surface; these are 3.0m. to 5.0m. in diameter and 0.2 to 0.5m. deep, though less definite where ploughed. No surface finds were made during field investigation.
See APs. ST J/AX 87-9; BZ/63-5 (13)
(A plentiful water supply is available in close proximity to this feature). (14)
The Butcher collection includes several sling stones and some pottery from ploughing 50 yards NW of the rampart (SY 539950). The pottery appears to be Iron Age "A" in character. (15)
From aerial photographs, it appears that the outer rampart on the NE side of the fort was either left incomplete, or slighted after construction. (16)
The site was excavated between 1963 and 1966 by G. Rybot. The linear banks are thought to pre-date the middle-late Iron Age. Excavated pits contained middle-late Iron Age pottery. (17)
Supplementary notes, plan correspondence and photographs. (18)
Sling-stone and part of a rotary quern found at the Western approach to the fort. (19)
Chance Posted by Chance
29th March 2016ce

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