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Fieldnotes by Earthstepper

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Loughton Camp (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

Epping Forest contains two Iron Age earthworks. It is thought that both Loughton Camp and Ambresbury Banks were built around 500 BC. Used as animal folds in times of attack from another tribe or as look out posts and boundary markers between the Trinovantes and the Catevellauni. In use until after the Roman invasions.

Loughton Camp is located deep in the forest and a good map is required to find it. Never properly excavated, but an Iron Age stone quern was found nearby.

Stony Littleton (Long Barrow)

Access is much easier now that there is a well made, but very narrow track from Wellow. The barrow is fantastic and a real must see! Being some distance from the Avebury circus, the interior was free from candles and other new age clutter. How Moth could miss the giant ammonite cast I'll never know! The setting of the barrow and the surrounding hills is superb.

Sodbury Camp (Hillfort)

Accessible from Little Sodbury and Old Sodbury, but don't try the footpaths from the A46 as they are invisible beneath crops! I parked by Old Sodbury church and took the footpath opposite that goes along the left side of the village school. This is the Cotswold Way and is well marked. Keep to the left as the path skirts a steep hill and then, when a wood is reached, turn right and climb steeply up the hill.

The land towards the A46 is quite flat and the fort is defended by two banks and a ditch. Listed as Iron Age, yet the inner bank is perfectly rectangular with rounded corners. It looks very much like it was re-shaped by the Romans.

Bury Wood Camp (Hillfort)

The banks of Bury Camp are in dense woodland near Colerne. The interior of the fort is ploughed out and arable. Very difficult to explore.

Hinton Hill (Hillfort)

A small hillfort overlooking the Severn Valley with distant views of Bristol and South Wales. The fort is built high up on an outlying spur of the southern Cotswolds and is best seen from the high ground of Dyrham Park (NT)

Oliver's Castle (Hillfort)

A small hillfort near Devizes with two round barrows to the south-west.

Portingbury (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

Variously called Portingbury Hills and Portingbury Rings, this site is an Iron Age farmstead. It consists of a rectangular mound measuring 100 by 70ft surrounded by a strong ditch up to 35ft wide. Another mound - sausage shaped runs up to it. The ditch of this mound is less well defined. Two zigzag banks to the east form an incomplete enclosure with the Sherborne Brook.

Excavated in 1964, the ditch is V-shaped and was originally 6ft deep. Finds dated to the Iron Age include a small flint blade, four potsherds, animal bones, burnt flint and charcoal. Best seen in winter when the vegetation is lower and the ditches full of water. Easy to find from Post 11 of the NT's Nature Trail. Walk down the path into Beggar's Hall Coppice and very soon you will cross the first banks. Very wet area so good boots are a must.

Seven Hills (Rymer) (Round Barrow(s))

Yet another group of "Seven Hills". Now only slight traces of four remain, one of which has been excavated and dated to the Bronze Age. Soil marks indicate a ring ditch.

Honington Barrows (Round Barrow(s))

Two burial mounds of unknown date in the grounds of Honington Airfield, Larkhall Heath.

Mill House Barrow (Round Barrow(s))

A turf covered bowl barrow measuring 27m across and 1.7m high.Excavated in 1958 when a female skeleton and incense cups were found. Dated to the early Bronze Age 2500-1501BC

Troston Mount (Round Barrow(s))

A very large Bronze Age barrow with ditch and bank. Steep sided and tree covered, it is much burrowed into by rabbits. Scheduled but not yet excavated.

Peterborough Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The stone is located on the green outside Peterborough Museum. The notice indicates that the "Neolithic standing stone was moved from a nearby location and re-erected here". When I visited, there was a temporary exhibition featuring a life size figure of LaraCroft - Tomb Raider. Strange item for a museum, but I suppose that most archaeological exhibits in museums are from raided tombs!

Lexden Tumulus (Round Barrow(s))

This Iron Age burial mound dates from around 10 BC and may have contained the body of Addedomaros of the Trinovantes. The grave goods give an insight into the extent of Romanisation of the local aristocracy more than 50 years before the Claudian invasion. There were 17 wine jars, chain mail and a coin of Augustus struck in 17 BC which had been mounted as a portrait medallion. Other items included a statuette of Cupid and figurines of bull, boar and griffin. Trade with Roman Gaul was already influencing fashions among the rich.

Nag's Head (Natural Rock Feature)

The Nag's Head is a natural rock sculpture on Wingletang Down. (see also Wingletang Cairn Cemetry). This area is fully exposed to the Atlantic and the hard granite has been cut into fantastic shapes by wind and water. The Cornish antiquarian, William Borlase, saw the weird shapes, cup marks and hollows as being "Druidic". All are natural and Borlase's "Druids' chalices and bowls" are not cup and ring marks. This should signal caution to modern antiquarians when looking at similar depressions elsewhere in Britain.

Wingletang Down (Cairn(s))

Forty-three cairns have been found in the heather of this exposed moorland. Some are retained by kerbs of granite bouders. Field walls to the north-east connect some of the cairns.

Lyonesse (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

The Isles of Scilly were formerly one island and many archaeological sites now lie beneath the sea. Excavations have only been possible at the lowest tides and there are certain to be more sites permanently under water (there are more than 500 sites above the high water line). Normally submerged sites that have been excavated include: 10 hut circles, 7 cists and graves, 4 field wall enclosures and 12 other occupational sites and partial exposures in eroding cliffs. See marine contour map.

Castle Down (Chambered Cairn)

The area around Tregarthen Hill contains 78 mound cairns, some with retaining kerbs. 5 entrance graves are on the south side, 4 being in a line fron NE to SW.

Nornour (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

The island of Nornour (SV 944147) is less than four acres in size and is joined to Great Ganilly at low tide. Yet the excavations of the late 60's and early '70's revealed the remains of a major settlement which was occupied from the middle of the Bronze Age to the Romano-British Iron Age. Nornour clearly reveals the effects of rising sea levels, as this tiny scrap of land could never have supported such a thriving community. Many more houses are doubtless lost beneath the sea and right up until Tudor times, the islands of the Scillies were one island - known then as Ennor. Did the inundation of Ennor give rise to the legend of the Lost Land of Lyonesse? (see Scilly-Lyonesse)

On Nornour, there are eleven circular stone houses each having a main room with a smaller chamber alongside. Later, in the Iron Age, the site became a shrine to the goddess Silina and a number of goddess figurines have been found. The island also housed a workshop for brooches and other items. Over 3000 brooches, 35 bronze rings, 11 bracelets, 24 glass beads and 84 Roman coins have been excavated. The photographs were taken in 1970, soon after wind and waves exposed the site that was previously covered by sand. Since then, the sea has subsequently damaged much of the site. The settlement is still visible, but access is discouraged. All of the finds are displayed in the museum on St Mary's.

Chapel Downs (Carving)

This head was found early last century and then lost. Rediscovered in 1989, it is now cemented to the rock. Often hidden in the bracken and heather, it can be found by searching near the path to the very conspicuous red and white daymark. It seems to be the head of a lost statue and bears a resemblance to those found in the Channel Islands and Brittany. Prehistoric field system, an entrance grave and cairns nearby.

Gweal Hill (Entrance Grave)

A ruined entrance grave crowns the summit of Gweal Hill with two cairns nearby. One cairn is surrounded by five kerbstones.
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