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Large multivallate hillfort 230m south of Cross Hands Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Sodbury, South Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5415 / 51°32'29"N

Longitude: -2.3461 / 2°20'45"W

OS Eastings: 376095.813865

OS Northings: 182572.232715

OS Grid: ST760825

Mapcode National: GBR 0NL.7PF

Mapcode Global: VH95V.9J23

Entry Name: Large multivallate hillfort 230m south of Cross Hands Farm

Scheduled Date: 5 January 1927

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002486

English Heritage Legacy ID: SG 70

County: South Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Sodbury

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Old Sodbury St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

Details

The monument includes a large multivallate hillfort, situated on the summit of a small ridge on a plateau forming part of the Cotswold Escarpment, overlooking the wide valley of the River Frome. The hillfort survives as a roughly rectangular enclosed area, defined by a widely-spaced double rampart and ditch on all except the western side, where there is a single rampart and berm above the escarpment, and to the east where there is an additional outer counterscarp bank. In total the hillfort covers approximately 9.48ha, and the interior measures up to 277m long by 190m wide. The inner rampart, present on all sides, survives differentially, but measures up to 10m wide and 2.1m high. It is surrounded by a ditch of up to 9m wide and 2.1m deep (except to the west) with a further berm of up to 6m wide. The outer rampart is present to the north, east and south, again surviving differentially, and measures up to 17m wide and 3m high with a 3.6m wide berm and an outer ditch of up to 13m wide and 3m deep. The interior is crossed by a slight bank and ditch which is the parish boundary bank. The hillfort was once thought to have been a Roman camp which could have held up to five cohorts of soldiers and their horse soldiers. It is now widely accepted as an Iron Age hillfort. The causewayed entrance is on the east side. It is known locally as 'Sodbury Camp'.

The walls (listed Grade II) within the northern part of the monument are not included within the scheduling, but the ground below is included.

Sources: PastScape 205141
South Gloucestershire HER 2103

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Large multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between 5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection of the power struggle between competing elites. Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have ramparts. Access to the interior is generally provided by two entrances although examples with one and more than two have been noted. These may comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts, oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or circular houses. These display variations in size and are often clustered, for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fence lines, hearths and ovens. Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture occurred on many sites. Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere. They are rare and important for understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period. The large multivallate hillfort 230m south of Cross Hands Farm survives well and is often described as one of the best examples in the Cotswolds. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, territorial, strategic, social and economic significance, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, trade, abandonment and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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