Ancient Monuments

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Codford Circle hilltop enclosure

A Scheduled Monument in Codford, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1643 / 51°9'51"N

Longitude: -2.0264 / 2°1'35"W

OS Eastings: 398249.09304

OS Northings: 140556.981274

OS Grid: ST982405

Mapcode National: GBR 2X3.Y7C

Mapcode Global: VHB56.TZLV

Entry Name: Codford Circle hilltop enclosure

Scheduled Date: 25 March 1925

Last Amended: 16 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016558

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31667

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Codford

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Codford St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes Codford Circle, an earthwork hilltop enclosure situated
on the crest of Codford Hill, a chalk promontory of Salisbury Plain
overlooking the valley of the Chitterne Brook to the south east and the Wylye
valley to the south.
An elevated oval area of 3.6ha is surrounded by a bank 6.5m wide and up to
1.6m high from the outside. This is surrounded by a ditch 5m wide and up to
0.5m deep except for a section around the south eastern edge where it has been
reduced by ploughing. Entrances to the south east and north west are modern.
There is a small reservoir fenced off on the north side of the enclosed area
and a triangulation pillar in the centre.
Codford Circle was visited by Sir Richard Colt Hoare who records that it was
known locally as Oldbury Camp.
The reservoir structure and all fenceposts are excluded from the scheduling,
although 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

Hilltop enclosures are defined as sub-rectangular or elongated areas of
ground, usually between 10ha and 40ha in size, situated on hilltops or
plateaux and surrounded by slight univallate earthworks. They date to between
the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth-fifth centuries BC) and are usually
interpreted as stock enclosures or sites where agricultural produce was
stored. Many examples of hilltop enclosures may have developed into more
strongly defended sites later in the Iron Age period and are therefore often
difficult to recognise in their original form. The earthworks generally
consist of a bank separated from an external ditch by a level berm. Access to
the interior was generally provided by two or three entrances which consisted
of simple gaps in the rampart. Evidence for internal features is largely
dependent on excavation, and to date this has included large areas of sparsely
scattered features including post and stakeholes, hearths and pits.
Rectangular or square buildings are also evident; these are generally defined
by between four and six postholes and are thought to have supported raised
granaries. Hilltop enclosures are rare, with between 25 and 30 examples
recorded nationally. A greater number may exist but these could have been
developed into hillforts later in the Iron Age and could only be confirmed by
detailed survey or excavation. The majority of known examples are located in
two regions, on the chalk downland of Wessex and Sussex and in the Cotswolds.
More scattered examples are found in north-east Oxfordshire and north
Northamptonshire. This class of monument has not been recorded outside
England. In view of the rarity of hilltop enclosures and their importance in
understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of
national importance.

Despite the ploughing of the enclosed area and sections of the ditch Codford
Circle hilltop enclosure is a good example of this rare type of monument which
will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the
the economy of the people who built it and the landscape in which they lived.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Colt Hoare, R, The Ancient History of Wiltshire: Volume I, (1812), 80

Source: Historic England

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