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Iron Age enclosure and associated earthworks in the north east corner of Blagden Copse

A Scheduled Monument in Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire

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Latitude: 51.272 / 51°16'19"N

Longitude: -1.4792 / 1°28'45"W

OS Eastings: 436424.026733

OS Northings: 152664.734293

OS Grid: SU364526

Mapcode National: GBR 71Z.4V9

Mapcode Global: VHC2L.99V7

Entry Name: Iron Age enclosure and associated earthworks in the north east corner of Blagden Copse

Scheduled Date: 22 December 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009842

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21901

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Hurstbourne Tarrant

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Hurstbourne Tarrant St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Winchester


The monument includes a sub-square Iron Age enclosure and associated
earthworks in the north east sector of Blagden Copse. The enclosure is one of
a number to the north of Devil's Ditch, including a `banjo' enclosure some
250m to the south west, and is in an area where a number of important Late
Iron Age objects have been found.
The enclosure covering c.1ha, is defined by a ditch with an internal bank and
an external counterscarp on its south side. The internal bank stands to a
height of 1m and is c.5m across. The ditch is up to 3m wide and is now
visible to a depth of 0.7m but is known to have been originally excavated to a
sharp `V'- shaped profile. There are two breaks in the bank: a broad one on
the east side and a smaller one on the west. A shallow ditch runs from this
western gap towards the centre of the enclosure.
Geophysical survey and limited excavation have yielded traces of activity but
no sign of intensive settlement within the enclosure. Excavation in 1987 and
1988 dated the enclosure ditch to within the first centuries BC and AD and
revealed levelled platforms of weathered flint in the south east and north
east corners of the enclosed area. A pit was discovered below the platform in
the north east corner. This was 4m deep and contained at its base Iron Age
pottery, animal remains, the burial of an infant, a horse skull, and the bones
of a juvenile pig. The nature of these finds indicate a ritual deposit.
The monument also includes a ditch which runs north from the north east corner
of the enclosure, a length of ditch parallel to and some 36m north of the
north side of the enclosure, the area between these ditches and the enclosure,
and a 10m margin to include immediately associated features, such as a pit
identified 5m beyond the northernmost ditch. Other earthworks survive in this
area of the wood.
The post and wire fence on the southern edge of the monument is excluded from
the scheduling although the ground beneath it is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Blagden Copse is part of the remnant woodland of Chute Forest which once
stretched from Collingbourne Wood, inside the Wiltshire border, to Harewood
Forest in Hampshire. Whilst much of Blagden Copse has been planted by the
Forestry Commission, the area in which the enclosure stands has retained its
natural condition. Evidence from both documents and random finds suggest that
this portion of woodland has been under trees for some 1500 years and has not
been cultivated since the Romano-British period.
The enclosure and associated earthworks in Blagden Copse therefore survive
well and their understanding has been enhanced by partial excavation which has
dated it to between the first century BC and the first century AD, bridging
the period of the Roman invasion. Excavation and geophysical survey conducted
on and around the site also indicate the absence of settlement evidence and,
together with the nature of deposits in the ditch and excavated pit, suggest a
ritual site of a type recognised in Europe and known as 'viereckschanzen'.
These date to the Late Iron Age and only very few examples are known in this
country, the only other candidates being Robin Hood's Arbour, Berkshire, and
Gosbeck's Farm (Camulodunum), Essex. The site is therefore an example of a
particularly rare class of monument which, in conjunction with other sites in
the area, including the banjo enclosure situated 250m to the south, contribute
to a fuller understanding of social organisation in the Late Iron Age and
early Roman period of Wessex.

Source: Historic England


Bowden, M. Mackay, D and Topping, P (ed), From Cornwall to Caithness some aspects of Brit. Field. Arch, 1989, Papers presented to N.V.Quinnel
Dacre, M., Blagden Copse Rectangle (BCR87) Interim Report, 1987,
Report on Geophysical Survey, Payne, A, Blagden Copse, Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire, (1990)

Source: Historic England

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