Ancient Monuments

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A slight univallate hillfort and bowl barrow on Ivinghoe Beacon Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire

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Latitude: 51.8419 / 51°50'30"N

Longitude: -0.6074 / 0°36'26"W

OS Eastings: 496037.870934

OS Northings: 216836.014675

OS Grid: SP960168

Mapcode National: GBR F44.H86

Mapcode Global: VHFRJ.FY8W

Entry Name: A slight univallate hillfort and bowl barrow on Ivinghoe Beacon Hill

Scheduled Date: 3 March 1958

Last Amended: 8 October 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009544

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19067

County: Buckinghamshire

Civil Parish: Ivinghoe

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Ivinghoe with Pitstone

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort and a substantial bowl
barrow on the summit of Beacon Hill, at the northern end of the Ivinghoe
Hills. The hillfort occupies the entire summit of the hill to form a roughly
triangular shaped enclosure some 2.2 hectares in area. The perimeter defences
roughly follow the 200m contour and include a scarp averaging 2m high with a
ditch or berm averaging 6m wide. The scarp becomes double for some 60m around
the southern point of the enclosure, but elsewhere appears to remain single
and fairly uniform. A slight lowering and inturning of the scarp and a
discontinuance of the ditch at the eastern point of the hillfort, probably
marks the site of the original entrance. A pathway which enters the interior
at this position does confuse interpretation in this area, however this is the
natural approach to the hilltop along the gently climbing dip slope and the
most likely position for an entrance. Finds made in the hillfort in the
course of various past explorations have included Early Iron Age pottery and
bronze implements, suggesting that the site was built in the early 6th century
BC by pastoral people still using bronze implements but with an otherwise Iron
Age material culture.
In the north-western quarter of the hillfort stands a substantial bowl
barrow forming part of the Beacon Hill barrow cemetery. It survives as a well
defined flat topped mound 23m in diameter and 1.6m high with a surrounding
ditch, from which the material for the mound was quarried, 4m wide and 0.4m

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 10 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes,
generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and
defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively
small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth -
fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for between 150 and 200 years
prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have
generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places
of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a
rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access
to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple
gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation
indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate
features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few
examples. Internal features include square or rectangular buildings supported
by four to six postholes and interpreted as raised granaries, timber or stone
round houses, large storage pits and hearths as well as scattered postholes,
stakeholes and gullies. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150
examples recorded nationally. Although on a national scale the number is low,
in Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. In other areas
where the distribution is relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the
Cotswolds and the Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different
classes occur within the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern
England, the Welsh Marches, central and southern England. In view of the
rarity of slight univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding
the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which
survive comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further
archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

The slight univallate hillfort on Beacon Hill survives well with little
evidence of any disturbance and represents a particularly fine example of its
class. The interior appears undisturbed with excellent conditions for the
survival of archaeological material. Similarly the perimeter boundary
defences and entrance are largely intact.

Source: Historic England


Card no 1245,

Source: Historic England

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