Ancient Monuments

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Promontory fort on Live Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Whorlton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4045 / 54°24'16"N

Longitude: -1.2374 / 1°14'14"W

OS Eastings: 449598.678919

OS Northings: 501266.197614

OS Grid: NZ495012

Mapcode National: GBR MKSH.WW

Mapcode Global: WHD7R.YKXB

Entry Name: Promontory fort on Live Moor

Scheduled Date: 4 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009359

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25539

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Whorlton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Whorlton

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a hillfort occupying a prominent natural knoll on the
west end of Live Moor in the north west area of the Hambleton Hills. It is
sub-circular in shape, with a prominent rampart, external ditch and a
counterscarp bank to the ENE and south. To the west and north west the
monument is defined by a steep scarp slope with traces of a bank along the
west edge. At the south east there is a further bank and ditch extending 40m
to the south, forming an outwork linking the hillfort to natural topographic
features. The rampart is up to 9m wide and stands to a height of 2.2m above
the base of the ditch. The ditch itself is 5m wide at the top narrowing to
0.5m at the bottom. The counterscarp bank is 3m wide and stands to a height of
0.75m. There is an entrance on the east side 3m wide narrowing to 1m at the
centre. The interior of the hillfort is relatively level and measures 120m
across. A well worn footpath carrying the Cleveland Way crosses the northern
part of the monument.
There are a number of promontory forts along the northern and western
escarpment of the Hambleton Hills. They were local foci and provide evidence
of the consolidation of settlement and social organisation in the late
prehistoric period. As such they can be contrasted with the more dispersed hut
circle settlements also found on the North York Moors and which are of a
broadly contemporary date.

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

Promontory forts are a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally
defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more
earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it
from the surrounding land. Coastal situations, using headlands defined by
steep natural cliffs, are common while inland similar topographic settings
defined by natural cliffs are also used. The ramparts and accompanying ditches
formed the main artificial defence, but timber palisades may have been erected
along the cliff edges. Access to the interior was generally provided by an
entrance through the ramparts. The interior of the fort was used intensively
for settlement and related activities, and evidence for timber- and stone-
walled round houses can be expected, together with the remains of buildings
used for storage and enclosures for animals. Promontory forts are generally
Iron Age in date, most having been constructed and used between the sixth
century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are broadly contemporary with
other types of hillfort. They are regarded as settlements of high status,
probably occupied on a permanent basis, and recent interpretations suggest
that their construction and choice of location had as much to do with display
as defence. Promontory forts are rare nationally with less than 100 recorded
examples. In view of their rarity and their importance in the understanding of
the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are considered nationally

This monument has a well preserved rampart and ditch. Significant
archaeological evidence will be contained within the ditch and evidence of
earlier landuse will be preserved beneath the banks. This monument is one of a
series of similar sites along the western escarpment of the Hambleton Hills.
Together they form a network of small defended settlements in commanding
positions, designed to protect their inhabitants and perhaps defend larger
land holdings. They also have importance in demonstrating the prestige
of their builders. They thus provide important evidence of the nature and
stability of settlement and society in the late prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Manby, T, 'Settlement and Society in the British Later Bronze Age' in Later Bronze Age in Eastern Yorkshire, , Vol. BAR 83, (1980), 120
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, (1993), 152-54
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, (1993), 123-128

Source: Historic England

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