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Wolstonbury Camp: a Ram's Hill type enclosure on Wolstonbury Hill and associated later remains

A Scheduled Monument in Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common, West Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.9094 / 50°54'33"N

Longitude: -0.1749 / 0°10'29"W

OS Eastings: 528410.043795

OS Northings: 113804.657174

OS Grid: TQ284138

Mapcode National: GBR JMX.YC1

Mapcode Global: FRA B6JP.TYW

Entry Name: Wolstonbury Camp: a Ram's Hill type enclosure on Wolstonbury Hill and associated later remains

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1933

Last Amended: 8 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016153

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27077

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Pyecombe The Transfiguration

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Details

The monument includes Wolstonbury Camp, a Late Bronze Age Ram's Hill type
enclosure situated on a clay-with-flints capped, chalk hill which forms part
of the Sussex Downs. The north-south aligned, roughly oval enclosure is
defined by a ditch up to 5m wide and c.1.2m deep which bounds a central area
of 2,2ha. Part excavation in 1929 and 1995, and a 1993 survey, have shown the
ditch to be flat-bottomed and interrupted in places by narrow causeways,
interpreted as original features. A bank of dump construction surrounds the
ditch, measuring up to 5m wide and up to 1.5m high, and the ditch is flanked
on its south western side by a slight internal bank up to 0.2m high. The
earthworks have been disturbed in places by late 18th century-early 19th
century flint diggings, mainly excavated by the inmates of Hursterpierpoint
workhouse. Two gaps at the north and south east of the boundary earthworks
have been interpreted as original entrances, although the flint diggings have
obscured the original form of the enclosure in these areas.
The later flint diggings have also disturbed much of the interior of the
enclosure, although surveys have indicated roughly north-south aligned curving
banks measuring 2m-4m wide and up to 0.5m high. These are interpreted as
lynchets resulting from the subsequent cultivation of the interior during the
Early Iron Age. It has also been suggested that the enclosure was remodelled
during the Middle Iron Age. Antiquarian sources indicate that the monument may
have been used as a cemetery during the later Anglo-Saxon period. Reports in
the Gentleman's Magazine of 1765 and 1806 suggest that the inhumation burials
furnished with grave goods were disturbed on the hilltop by flint quarrying
and possibly also by the construction of the now dry dewpond situated in the
central part of the enclosure. Other finds include worked flints dating the
Neolithic period and the Early Bronze Age and Roman coins and pottery.
The Ordnance Survey trig point is excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 10 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Ram's Hill type enclosures were constructed on hilltops in southern England
throughout the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). They usually survive as an oval area
of up to c.5ha defended by a single bank and external ditch interrupted by
simple causewayed entrances. Traces of circular houses have been found within
the interiors, and associated field systems have been identified nearby; the
enclosures are therefore interpreted as the sites of domestic settlement. Some
examples, such as the earliest phase of the enclosure on Ram's Hill itself,
may have been occupied on a temporary seasonal basis, and evidence for
episodes of feasting on a social or ceremonial scale has been found. In
several cases, investigations have provided evidence for the remodelling and
reuse of the enclosures during the later prehistoric and Roman periods.
Sparsely distributed throughout central southern England, Ram's Hill type
enclosures are one of very few classes of monument dating to the Early and
Middle Bronze Age. They are a rare monument type; less than 10 have been
positively identified. All examples with surviving remains are therefore
considered to be of national importance.

Although it has been disturbed by 18th and 19th century flint digging, the
enclosure on Wolstonbury Hill survives well, and has been shown by part
excavation to contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence
relating to the period in which it was constructed and used. The enclosure is
an unusual example of this class of monument because it has an internal
boundary ditch.
The monument forms part of a group of broadly contemporary monuments situated
on Wolstonbury Hill, including a platform barrow (SM 27076), a cross dyke and
a bowl barrow (which together comprise SM 27075). Their close association will
provide evidence for the relationship between settlement exchange, burial
practices and land division during the later prehistoric period. The evidenc
efor later reuse of the hilltop during the Iron Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon
periods illustrates the way in which the hilltop has been used over the
centuries.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England, , Enclosures on Wolstonbury Hill, Pyecombe, West Sussex, (1993)
Russell, M, Wolstonbury Hill, Pyecombe, West Sussex, (1994)
Russell, M, Wolstonbury Hill, Pyecombe, West Sussex, (1995)
Curwen, EC, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Wolstonbury, , Vol. 71, (1930), 237-245
Welch, M, 'British Archaeological Reports' in Early Anglo-Saxon Sussex, , Vol. 112 ii, (1983), 441-442

Source: Historic England

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