Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Iron Age enclosure on Overton Hill, 600m north west of North Farm

A Scheduled Monument in West Overton, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.4186 / 51°25'6"N

Longitude: -1.8171 / 1°49'1"W

OS Eastings: 412814.25636

OS Northings: 168859.019322

OS Grid: SU128688

Mapcode National: GBR 4WY.WZY

Mapcode Global: VHB45.GL7V

Entry Name: Iron Age enclosure on Overton Hill, 600m north west of North Farm

Scheduled Date: 20 January 1964

Last Amended: 10 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007490

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21763

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: West Overton

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument includes a slightly oval Iron Age enclosure and associated
features situated 600m north west of North Farm on a gentle south facing slope
of Overton Hill overlooking the River Kennet.
Although the enclosure has been levelled by cultivation, it is visible at
ground level as a soil mark when the fields are newly ploughed. The site is
best seen, however, on aerial photographs which show a bank and ditch
enclosing a roughly circular area 110m east-west by 130m north-south. The
ditch and bank are interrupted by an entrance to the north west and adjoining
this are associated 'antennae' formed by a pair of ditches which run north
west for c.80m beyond the enclosure. It is likely that these represent
boundaries designed to act as a funnel for the purpose of herding stock into
the enclosure. Within the enclosure there are numerous features which
represent storage pits and associated structures relating to the occupation of
the site.
Excluded from the scheduling is the boundary fence which runs north-south
through the middle of the area of the scheduling, but the ground beneath this
fence is included in the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The size and form of Iron Age enclosed settlements vary considerably from
single farmsteads up to large semi-urban oppida. Farmsteads are generally
represented by curvilinear enclosures containing evidence of a small group of
circular domestic buildings and associated agricultural structures. Where
excavated, these sites are also found to contain storage pits for grain and
other produce, evidence of an organised and efficient farming system. The
surrounding enclosures would have provided protection against cattle rustling
and tribal raiding.
In central southern England, most enclosed Iron Age farmsteads are situated in
areas which are now under intensive arable cultivation. As a result, although
some examples survive with upstanding earthworks, the majority have been
recorded as crop- and soil-marks appearing on aerial photographs.

Although the Iron Age enclosure 600m north west of North Farm is similar to a
number of other sites known in Wiltshire, including the well-known excavated
example of Little Woodbury, such sites are rare in the Avebury region, which
is best known for its Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments. It will be important
in understanding the development of the landscape in this area following the
end of the Bronze Age period.
Aerial photographs demonstrate that remains survive buried beneath the present
ground surface and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence
relating to the monument's construction and function, and to the landscape in
which it was built.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire, (1957), 120&270
Fowler, P J, 'Proceedings' in Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine, , Vol. 58, (1963)
Discussion of site during field visit, JEFFERY, P.P., Discussion with Mrs Swanton and R. King in 1989, (1989)
SU 16 NW 47, RCHM(E), Cropmarks of a Little Woodbury type of Iron Age enclosure, (1974)
SU16NW203, CAO, Enclosure of Little Woodbury Type, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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