Ancient Monuments

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Hammer Wood hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Trotton with Chithurst, West Sussex

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Latitude: 51.0093 / 51°0'33"N

Longitude: -0.7954 / 0°47'43"W

OS Eastings: 484603.381986

OS Northings: 124015.267247

OS Grid: SU846240

Mapcode National: GBR DDM.PQ9

Mapcode Global: FRA 966F.ZYH

Entry Name: Hammer Wood hillfort

Scheduled Date: 4 July 1958

Last Amended: 3 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015878

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29269

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Trotton with Chithurst

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Stedham with Iping

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a small multivallate hillfort dating to the Iron Age
(700 BC-AD 43), situated on a greensand spur which overlooks the River Rother
c.1.2km to the south. The elaborate hillfort defences completely enclose the
spur, forming a north west-south east aligned, roughly rectangular interior
area of The most impressive defences are to the north east, where
they were constructed across the gently sloping ground which forms the neck of
the spur. They survive here as two large parallel banks up to 11m wide,
flanked by outer ditches. Part excavation in 1957 indicated that the earthen
and rubble banks are revetted with locally extracted ironstone slabs. Access
to the interior is by way of a staggered entrance formed by simple, causewayed
gaps through the central part of the ramparts. The remaining defences are on a
smaller scale, with the steeply-sided north western and south eastern edges of
the spur enclosed mainly by a single bank and ditch. To the south west, the
spur-edge rampart is augmented by a parallel, outer bank and ditch constructed
c.15m downslope. The ramparts have been disturbed in places by the subsequent
construction and use of more recent tracks and paths.

Buried remains associated with the original use of the monument, including
traces of round houses, compounds, granaries, pits, iron ore smelting hearths
and outbuildings, can be expected to survive within the interior of the
hillfort, although this area has been partly disturbed by modern tree
planting. Later use of the monument is represented by at least six roughly
circular platforms situated within the hillfort, shown by the archaeological
investigations of 1957 to represent charcoal burning clamps dating to the
post-medieval period.

Two modern timber huts situated within the hillfort interior are excluded from
the scheduling, 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

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying
shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are
defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set
earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the
interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or
more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been
constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first
century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements
of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest
that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with
display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a
rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks
and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by
one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or
inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists
of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures
interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety
of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of
small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a
similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples
recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west
with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. In view of the
rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding
the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period,
all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of
national importance.

The small multivallate hillfort at Hammer Wood survives well and part
excavation has indicated that it retains archaeological remains and
environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it
was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Boyden, J R, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Excavations at Hammer Wood, Iping, 1957, , Vol. 96, (1958), 149-163

Source: Historic England

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