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Earthwork on Botany Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Farnham, Surrey

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.2088 / 51°12'31"N

Longitude: -0.7486 / 0°44'55"W

OS Eastings: 487510.886741

OS Northings: 146257.644587

OS Grid: SU875462

Mapcode National: GBR DBC.3K8

Mapcode Global: VHDY2.ZW35

Entry Name: Earthwork on Botany Hill

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1934

Last Amended: 13 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013869

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20177

County: Surrey

Civil Parish: Farnham

Built-Up Area: Moor Park

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Farnham

Church of England Diocese: Guildford

Details

The monument includes an earthwork, identified as the remains of a slight
univallate hillfort, possibly unfinished, situated on a steep-sided natural
knoll of Greensand on the south west slope of Botany Hill. Apart from being
apparently unfinished, the Botany Hill earthwork is similar in size, form,
and siting to the Soldiers Ring earthwork 500m to the east. This too has been
interpreted as a hillfort.
Botany Hill earthwork, which appears in plan as a `C'-shape, is defined by a
bank and outer ditch, with additional defences to the north, west and south
west, defining an internal area of c.40m north-south but open to the east. On
the south west side the bank survives to a height of 0.5m and is 6m wide. The
ditch has become partially infilled over the years but is visible as an
earthwork feature. It measures 6m wide and 1m deep on the south west side,
and can be followed around the enclosure to the west and north as a terrace up
to 4m wide and c.2m below the level of the hill top. Also to the west and
north, the natural steep slope of the hill has been scarped for additional
defence. Beyond the ditch to the south west is an outer counterscarp bank 1.2m
high and 5m wide.
Part excavation of the site in 1993 suggested that the ramparts did not
form a continuous circuit, as previously had been thought.
Chance finds, in the form of calcined stone, have come from the monument over
the years.
All fences and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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 slight univallate hillfort at Botany Hill is unusual as it appears that
the site was never completed, although parts of the monument may have been
disturbed during construction or landscaping in the area. The monument
survives comparatively well and is known from chance finds to contain
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the
landscape in which it was constructed. Together with the comparable site of
Soldiers Ring, 500m to the east, the site will enhance our understanding of
settlement and social organisation of the later prehistoric period in this
area.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Aldsworth, F G, 1727, (1966)
CAS code 491, P.Reeves, Report on the evaluation excavation of earthworks at Botany Hill, (1993)
Raymond,F., MPP Single Mon Class Description - Slight Univallate Hillforts, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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