Ancient Monuments

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Oliver's Battery: a hillfort on Abbotstone Down near Alresford

A Scheduled Monument in Northington, Hampshire

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Latitude: 51.1222 / 51°7'20"N

Longitude: -1.1665 / 1°9'59"W

OS Eastings: 458427.861218

OS Northings: 136213.107902

OS Grid: SU584362

Mapcode National: GBR 96S.KWC

Mapcode Global: VHD0Z.Q2N0

Entry Name: Oliver's Battery: a hillfort on Abbotstone Down near Alresford

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 18 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010867

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24338

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Northington

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Ovington with Itchen Stoke St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Winchester


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort of Iron Age date on
Abbotstone Down near Alresford. The bank and ditch which enclose the interior
follow the contours of a gently sloping spur of high ground c.2km east of a
tributary of the River Alre. The hillfort is bisected by the B3046 road.
The bank and ditch have been partly reduced and infilled respectively on all
except the north east side of the site where an outer, counterscarp bank is
also preserved. These define a maximum internal area c.230m (north to south)
by c.200m. A possible entrance lies at the south east corner.
The bank, ditch and counterscarp have an overall width of 20m, the ditch being
10m wide, the inner and outer counterscarp banks 6m and 4m wide and rising
c.2m and 1m above the base of the ditch respectively. The bank nowhere rises
more than 0.7m above the interior of the hillfort. Although known as Oliver's
Battery, the site has no known Civil War associations.
The surface of the B3046 road, all seats, barriers, gates, fences and
associated posts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath 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

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 hillfort on Abbotstone Down survives well and, despite some reduction of
the surrounding bank and infilling of the ditch, the site will contain
archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction, use
and abandonment of the monument.

Source: Historic England


Ordnance Survey, SU 53NE 15,

Source: Historic England

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