Ancient Monuments

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Iron Age defended settlement above Sweetworthy (eastern of two)

A Scheduled Monument in Luccombe, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1701 / 51°10'12"N

Longitude: -3.5892 / 3°35'21"W

OS Eastings: 288991.686982

OS Northings: 142408.20484

OS Grid: SS889424

Mapcode National: GBR LC.6JKD

Mapcode Global: VH5K2.QVXC

Entry Name: Iron Age defended settlement above Sweetworthy (eastern of two)

Scheduled Date: 13 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008471

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24029

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Luccombe

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes an Iron Age defended settlement on the lower
northern slopes of Dunkery Hill. It is one of two within 80m of each other,
and close to another larger enclosure of similar type.
The site is a round levelled area 37m across, enclosed by a bank 0.4m
high, except on part of the lower side which is a simple scarp 0.5m high.
There is an entrance to the interior on the north west consisting of a gap 2m
wide with a slight inturn of the bank.
In the south west of the enclosure against the edge is a circular hollow 10m
across representing the site of a round building, slightly banked on the east
side and with a level entrance to the north.
The site has been crossed by a later track which has denuded the earthworks at
the points where it ran across them.
Excluded from the scheduling is the fence around the monument although the
ground beneath is included.

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

During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were
constructed and occupied in south-western England. At the top of the
settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition
to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also
constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent
positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an
enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen
construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate
sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second
phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where
excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the
enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied
by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group.
Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element
of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south-western
England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified
settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are likely to be
identified as nationally important.

The eastern settlement enclosure above Sweetworthy survives as a good example
of the smaller size range of its class. It is part of an unusual grouping of
associated prehistoric and medieval settlements.

Source: Historic England

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