Ancient Monuments

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Hascombe Camp: a small multivallate hillfort north west of Lodge Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Hascombe, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.1384 / 51°8'18"N

Longitude: -0.5651 / 0°33'54"W

OS Eastings: 500484.666225

OS Northings: 138657.041946

OS Grid: TQ004386

Mapcode National: GBR FDQ.FZL

Mapcode Global: VHFW1.5N35

Entry Name: Hascombe Camp: a small multivallate hillfort north west of Lodge Farm

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 20 October 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008522

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23012

County: Surrey

Civil Parish: Hascombe

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Hascombe

Church of England Diocese: Guildford


The monument includes a small multivallate hillfort of Iron Age date, situated
on the south west tip of a ridge of sandstone. It is roughly rectangular in
shape and aligned south west to north east.

The hillfort has earthen rampart defences which enclose an area of
approximately 2.5ha. To the south east, south west and north west a bank and
outer ditch follow the crest of the natural slope. The bank has been eroded
over the years and the ditch has become infilled but survives as a buried
feature c.3m wide, visible as a terrace 3.5m below the crest of the bank. A
second ditch, c.4m further down the slope, is also visible as a terrace: the
slope below it has had additional scarping. On the eastern corner the terrace
continues north east for a further 25m beyond the inner defences along the
edge of the slope. The north eastern defences have a single bank which
survives up to 1.5m high and 12m wide, a ditch 5m wide and 0.5m deep and a
natural rise beyond them utilised as an additional defensive feature. The
entrance, situated on the north east side 30m from the northern corner,
survives as a gap in the rampart 3m wide with two short out-turned banks c.10m
long, 8m wide and 1m high.

The hillfort was first excavated in 1931 when trenches were put through the
defences on all four sides and a single trench centrally through the interior:
sling-stones, querns and Iron Age pottery were recovered. More recent
excavations in 1975 and 1977 recovered more occupation evidence with a loom-
weight, a spindle whorl, grains and querns, as well as hearths and pits within
the interior of the enclosure suggesting domestic activity. Also the north
eastern ramparts were found to be stone-revetted, including the out-turned
banks of the entrance. The gap between them was also found to have included
two sets of gates. The pottery is all Late Iron Age and dates from between 200
and 50 BC.

The occupation of the hillfort is believed to have been quite short-lived. The
apparently deliberate breakage of expensive household items such as
quernstones, also seen at the nearby site of Holmbury, suggested that the
occupants may have been forced to abandon the site, an event possibly
coinciding with Caesar's landings of 55 and 54 BC.

Excluded from the scheduling are all fences, gates and posts but the ground
beneath all these features 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

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.

Despite storm damage, Hascombe Camp survives comparatively well with the
interior of the enclosure remaining largely undisturbed within a complete
circuit of defences. Partial excavation has demonstrated that the site
contains both archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to
the monument, its inhabitants, their economy and the landscape in which they
lived. It has also produced evidence for the abandonment of the site, an event
possibly coinciding with the Roman invasion.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Thompson, FH, 'Antiquaries Journal' in Hascombe Camp, , Vol. 59 part2, (1979), 245-318
Winbolt, S E, 'Surrey Archaeological Collections' in Hascombe Camp, , Vol. 40, (1932), 78-96

Source: Historic England

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