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Hillfort and associated Romano-British occupation at Little Abbey, Alveston

A Scheduled Monument in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.5968 / 51°35'48"N

Longitude: -2.507 / 2°30'25"W

OS Eastings: 364975.319577

OS Northings: 188786.669233

OS Grid: ST649887

Mapcode National: GBR JV.BN2D

Mapcode Global: VH883.H4H6

Entry Name: Hillfort and associated Romano-British occupation at Little Abbey, Alveston

Scheduled Date: 5 June 1961

Last Amended: 30 November 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010803

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12007

County: South Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Thornbury

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Alveston and Littleton-on-Severn with Elberton

Church of England Diocese: Bristol


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort and associated Roman
remains occupying a ridge top with commanding views to the north of the Forest
of Dean, Severn Valley and parts of the Coltswold. The hillfort is of oval
shape with single rampart and an entrance to the south. An additional bank
branches off from the main earthwork at the south east. The main bank
survives in places to a height of 1.7m and a breadth of 5m.
Although the appearance of the site as a hillfort suggests an Iron Age
date, finds from the site are largely Roman; these include coins, pottery and
quernstones, recovered by fieldwalking in fields both within and immediately
outside the earthwork. More recently, observations within the farmyard to the
south of the road and on the eastern edge of the rampart, produced pottery and
the appearance of Roman fabrics within contemporary buildings. In addition the
foundations of a building have been identified during turf-stripping in a
field east of the yard.
The modern road which bisects the monument, and its verge, are omitted
from the scheduled area. Also omitted are the modern buildings within
the scheduled area, although the ground beneath them 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

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 150 to 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 included timber or stone round houses; large
storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and
square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often
represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. 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 site is unusual in that, although similar to other examples in the Severn
Basin, it has produced largely Roman as opposed to Iron Age artefacts.
The earthwork itself is well preserved, while the abundance of finds from
the interior suggests that archaeological deposits inside the monument
will survive.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Witts, G B, Archaeology handbook for Gloucestershire, (1883)
Solley, T W J, 'Trans Bristol and Gloucs Arch Soc' in Earthworks at Abbey (Alveston) and Elberton (Aust), , Vol. 101, (1983), 174-180
CUAP 1964 A1059,
Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Archaeol Records ST 68 NE 2,

Source: Historic England

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