Ancient Monuments

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Small multivallate hillfort on Round Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Westerdale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4341 / 54°26'2"N

Longitude: -0.9594 / 0°57'33"W

OS Eastings: 467596.190016

OS Northings: 504794.535014

OS Grid: NZ675047

Mapcode National: GBR PKR5.28

Mapcode Global: WHF8V.7TD4

Entry Name: Small multivallate hillfort on Round Hill

Scheduled Date: 29 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017826

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30133

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Westerdale

Built-Up Area: Castleton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Westerdale Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the earthworks of a small hillfort occupying a
promontory above Tower Beck within the infields of Westerdale.
The enclosed area of the hillfort is roughly oval, with its major axis
orientated NNW to SSE and measuring 140m long, with the minor axis
approximately 70m long. The area is defined by a sharp top break of slope on
all but the SSE part of the circuit. On the western side 0.5m to 1m below this
top break of slope there is a narrow bench typically 2m wide before the land
surface runs steeply downhill. This bench broadens to 8m-10m wide on the north
east part of the circuit and its surface indicates that it is formed from an
infilled ditch with a degraded bank on the outside edge. South of this area,
beyond a field boundary, the hillside is not as steep. The bench, which by
this point starts about 2m below the top break of slope, contains a definite
ditch with a bank on its outside, eastern side. However, the ditch and bank is
not continuous and for 60m-70m south of the field boundary there are four
separate sections on slightly different alignments. This section then merges
with the south eastern part of the circuit which extends for about 40m north
of a drystone wall. The hillside for this part of the circuit is gently
sloping and includes two definite ditches running parallel with each other
along the hillside with a slight bank on their downhill sides and a low third
bank beyond, further downhill. The bases of the two ditches are approximately
6m apart and they are 1.5m-1.8m deep on the uphill side, 0.4m-0.5m on the
downhill side. The promontory that forms Round Hill is linked to the valley
side by a saddle-shaped spur to the SSE. The pasture in this area has been
improved in the past and it is considered that archaeological remains of the
hillfort's ditches will survive as infilled features in this area.
Excluded from the scheduling is all modern fencing and drystone walling,
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

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.

Round Hill hillfort is a good example of its type, and is typical of those
found in Northern England, being relatively slight when compared to the
visually more impressive hillforts of Wessex.

Source: Historic England

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