Ancient Monuments

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Dunmallard small multivallate hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Dacre, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.6141 / 54°36'50"N

Longitude: -2.8257 / 2°49'32"W

OS Eastings: 346770.603153

OS Northings: 524638.942363

OS Grid: NY467246

Mapcode National: GBR 8HQ2.1R

Mapcode Global: WH81H.K9M3

Entry Name: Dunmallard small multivallate hillfort

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1926

Last Amended: 6 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008264

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23685

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Dacre

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Dacre St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes Dunmallard small multivallate hillfort, located on the
summit of Dunmallard hill overlooking the foot of Ullswater. It includes an
enclosure with internal measurements of approximately 92m north-south by 39m
east-west. The enclosure is defended on all sides except the central part of
the east side, where it has eroded down the steep slope, by a partly
stone-revetted bank measuring up to 9m wide and 3m high and an external ditch
measuring up to 9m wide and 1m deep. A second bank and ditch of slighter
proportions protect the northern end of the site. The entrance into the
hillfort's interior is located at the southern end of the western side where a
narrow gap penetrates obliquely through the defences.

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

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying
shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are
defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set
earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the
interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or
more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been
constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first
century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements
of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest
that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with
display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a
rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks
and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by
one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or
inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists
of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures
interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety
of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of
small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a
similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples
recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west
with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. In view of the
rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding
the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period,
all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of
national importance.

Dunmallard small multivallate hillfort is a small example of this class of
monument and only has defences where the natural setting itself provides
insufficient defence. It survives reasonably well and will retain evidence of
the activities undertaken within the enclosure and the methods utilised in its

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Challis, , Harding, , 'British Archaeological Reports' in Later Prehistory from the Trent to the Tyne, , Vol. 20 ptii, (1975), 122,46
Taylor, M W, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. Old Ser.' in On The Vestiges of Celtic Occupation Near Ullswater, , Vol. I, (1870), 157-9
AM107A (FMW Report), Crow, J, Dunmallet Hill Fort, (1984)

Source: Historic England

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