Ancient Monuments

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Martinsell Hill camp

A Scheduled Monument in Savernake, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.3746 / 51°22'28"N

Longitude: -1.7476 / 1°44'51"W

OS Eastings: 417662.670976

OS Northings: 163975.431288

OS Grid: SU176639

Mapcode National: GBR 4XM.NZM

Mapcode Global: VHB4D.NQG4

Entry Name: Martinsell Hill camp

Scheduled Date: 17 December 1929

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005676

English Heritage Legacy ID: WI 238

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Savernake

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


Slight univallate hillfort 1155m west of East Wick Farm, known as Martinsell Hill camp.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 1 July 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.

This monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated on the summit of the prominent escarpment called Martinsell Hill overlooking the Vale of Pewsey. The hillfort survives as a roughly rectangular enclosure which measures up to 434m long by 292m wide internally and is defined by a single rampart bank standing from 1.5m up to 3.2m high with an outer ditch of from 3m up to 5m wide and 1m deep. To the north west a linear boundary abuts the hillfort. This is scheduled separately but is also interpreted as an outwork to the hillfort by some sources. The circuit of the hillfort has been cut in several places by later tracks and some quarrying. The interior was partially excavated by Colt Hoare and has subsequently produced large quantities of pottery, loom weights and other items which date from the Iron Age to Romano-British period and include 1st and 2nd century Samian and Savernake wares and 3rd to 4th century pottery and fragments of and bone which indicate prolonged settlement.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes, generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth - fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally. Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh Marches, central and southern England. They are rare and important for In view understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities. Although large for its type the slight univallate hillfort 1155m west of East Wick Farm clearly had a prolonged occupation and will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, function, maintenance, development, social, strategic, economic and territorial significance, agricultural practices, trade, industrial and commercial activity, domestic arrangements, relationship with the linear boundary and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape 220993
Wiltshire HER SU16SE202

Source: Historic England

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