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Multivallate hillfort on Meon Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Quinton, Warwickshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.1061 / 52°6'22"N

Longitude: -1.7432 / 1°44'35"W

OS Eastings: 417683.143081

OS Northings: 245342.800458

OS Grid: SP176453

Mapcode National: GBR 4MQ.XS2

Mapcode Global: VHB0X.QBS8

Entry Name: Multivallate hillfort on Meon Hill

Scheduled Date: 5 January 1927

Last Amended: 8 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011372

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21551

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Quinton

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Quinton St Swithun

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

Details

The monument is situated on the summit of Meon Hill within the parish of
Quinton and includes a multivallate hillfort.
The defensive earthworks of the site closely follow the contours of the hill.
They include intermittent traces of an inner rampart and ditch, and an outer
ditch, beyond which in some sections, is a second rampart or counterscarp
bank. At the NW edge of the hillfort all the defences, except the inner
rampart, appear to have been destroyed by landslip; while along the northern
side, where the ground falls away steeply, there is a single bank and traces
of a 10m wide ditch. Along the southern edge of the hillfort the defences
include the inner rampart and a 16m wide ditch, and an outer bank. The outer
ditch has become infilled, but it will also survive as a buried feature and
is, therefore, included in the scheduling. The best-preserved sections of the
site's defences are situated along the southern and SW edges of the hillfort
and include a double-ditched rampart and the counterscarp bank. The inner
ditch is 16m wide and the outer is 9m wide. The inner rampart has been
ploughed out. Although there is no earthwork marking the hillfort's eastern
defences today, the double ditch in this vicinity will survive as a pair of
buried features which are included within the scheduling. A map of 1884 shows
two ramparts and three ditches along the southern and eastern sides of the
site. Access into the interior of the hillfort is by means of causeways at the
NW and SE edges of the site; either of these may mark the site of original
entrances.
The hillfort earthworks enclose an area of approximately 10ha. In 1824, 394
spit-shaped currency bars were found within the interior, approximately 1.2m
beneath the ground surface. The currency bars have been dated to the 3rd
century BC. During the early 20th century at least six saucer-shaped
depressions were visible within the southern part of the interior and in 1906
one of the depressions was excavated. It was 4.9m in diameter and 1.1m deep
and was interpreted as half a sunken hut with an encircling stone wall that
had fallen inwards. Finds recovered from the sunken hut included Iron Age and
Romano-British pottery sherds, a broken spearhead and flint flakes. The
interior of the hillfort is regularly ploughed and the depressions are no
longer visible on the ground surface, but they will survive as buried features
beneath the maximum depth of ploughing. An excavation at the site in 1922
recovered pottery, flint and two bronzes. In 1957 an Anglo-Saxon inhumation
was found within the hillfort. The finds associated with this burial include a
shield boss, spearhead and a ferrule (a metal band or ring).
Meon hillfort was described as a fortification of treble earthworks in the
17th century.
The triangulation station within the interior and all fence posts on the site
are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath these features is
included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Large multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between
5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of
concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron
Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC
and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of
permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection
of the power struggle between competing elites.
Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have
ramparts. Access to the interior is generally provided by two entrances
although examples with one and more than two have been noted. These may
comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts,
oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally
include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or
circular houses. These display variations in size and are often clustered,
for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as
raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain
evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include
platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fencelines, hearths and ovens.
Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial
activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture
occurred on many sites.
Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded
nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh
Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere.
In view of the rarity of large multivallate hillforts and their importance in
understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period,
all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of
national importance.

As one of only two known examples of large multivallate hillforts in
Warwickshire, Meon hillfort is an example of a rare class of monument in the
county. Partial excavation at the site has indicated that, despite regular
ploughing, the interior will retain structural and artefactual evidence for
the occupation of the hillfort and the economy of it's inhabitants. The large
hoard of currency bars found within the interior reflects the site's
importance and also demonstrates the significant advance towards a
standardised measurement of commodities during the Iron Age.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Andrews, F B, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Meon Hill, , Vol. 49, (1923), 57
Hodges, T R, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Meon Hill And Its Treasures, , Vol. 32, (1906), 101-15
Price, E, Walton, P, 'West Midlands Archaeological News Sheet' in West Midlands Archaeological News Sheet, (1982), 81
Price, E, Walton, P, 'West Midlands Archaeological News Sheet' in West Midlands Archaeological News Sheet, (1982), 78-82

Source: Historic England

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