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Warham Camp small multivallate fort

A Scheduled Monument in Warham, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.9302 / 52°55'48"N

Longitude: 0.8905 / 0°53'25"E

OS Eastings: 594372.7004

OS Northings: 340886.261121

OS Grid: TF943408

Mapcode National: GBR S7K.9Y2

Mapcode Global: WHLQR.NM70

Entry Name: Warham Camp small multivallate fort

Scheduled Date: 26 June 1924

Last Amended: 27 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018015

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30532

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Warham

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Warham All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument, which is in two areas separated by the channel of the River
Stiffkey, includes the earthwork enclosure known as Warham Camp, situated on
the lower part of a south west facing slope above the flood plain of the
river. The river formerly ran in a curve to the west and south west of the
enclosure but was diverted, probably soon after the beginning of the 18th
century, into the present channel which is cut across the south western edge
of the earthworks. The older course is now infilled, but can be traced as a
crop mark recorded on aerial photographs. Small-scale excavations at Warham
Camp carried out by St George Grey in 1914 and by R R Clarke in 1959 produced
finds of pottery and metalwork which are evidence for occupation of the
enclosure during the Iron Age and into the Roman period, up to the 2nd century
The enclosure, identified as a small multivallate fort, is circular, with an
internal diameter of approximately 130m, surrounded by a double bank and
ditches except on the south west side, where the banks have been levelled. The
overall diameter is approximately 212m. The banks diminish in height towards
the south west, probably as a result of deliberate landscaping when the course
of the river was diverted, but elsewhere the outer bank is approximately 2.7m
and the inner bank approximately 3m in height. The outer ditch and the inner
ditch between the two banks have become partly infilled, but remain open to a
depth of between 1.75m and 3m. The excavations have shown that they are both
flat-bottomed and that the outer ditch on the north east side of the enclosure
is up to 4m deep, measured from the prevailing ground surface. The
investigation by Clarke of parts of the inner and outer banks revealed that
they are of dump construction, built of glaciated chalk dug from the ditches,
and also produced evidence for a timber structure on the crest of the inner
bank, thought to have been a palisade with a platform to the rear, as well as
traces of a timber revetment on the inner face. A trench excavated by Clarke
on the opposite, south western side of the river, confirmed that the
earthworks originally continued around that side of the enclosure and that the
lower parts of the ditches survive there as buried features some 11.2m apart,
the remains of the outer ditch being about 2m wide and at least 0.7m deep and
those of the inner ditch about 1.5m wide and 0.45m deep. The earthworks are
interrupted by openings, with causeways, on the north western, and southern
sides, but the excavations in 1914 and 1959 confirmed that these are of later
construction. A narrower, staggered entrance on the eastern side may be an
original feature, but it is thought that the original main entrance was
probably on the south western side.
The Iron Age ditched enclosure which lies 270m to the north east is the
subject of a separate scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 known examples of earthwork enclosures in Norfolk which correspond to the
hillforts of the upland regions of England are relatively few in number and
most were constructed in low-lying, though naturally defensible locations. All
but one of them are located in the north western part of the county. Warham
Camp, which is visually the most impressive of these, is the only example of a
small multivallate fort in this part of East Anglia and differs from the
majority of monuments of this type, not only in the location, on the lower
edge of a valley slope, but in the symmetry of the upstanding earthworks which
define the greater part of the enclosure. Limited excavations have
demonstrated that these earthworks contain evidence for the date and manner of
construction of the fort, including the remains of timber structures, and
evidence for the occupation and use of the enclosure will also be preserved in
buried features in the subsoil of the interior. The buried ditches on the
south western side, adjacent to the river, are thought to contain waterlogged
deposits in which organic materials, including evidence for the local
environment at the time of this occupation, are also likely to be preserved.
The monument is associated with a rectangular ditched enclosure, thought also
to be of Iron Age date, the buried remains of which lie 270m to the north east
in an adjacent field and are the subject of a separate scheduling. It has
wider importance in relation to the other surviving Iron Age forts in the
area, which include two slight univallate forts at Holkham, 7.75km to the
north west, and at South Creake, 11km to the south west respectively. As a
group these are a source of comparative information of great value for the
study of Iron Age settlement and society in this part of East Anglia.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gregory, T, Gurney, G, 'East Anglian Archaeol' in Excavations at Thornham, Warham, Wighton & Caistor, Norfolk, , Vol. 30, (1986), 22-26
St George Gray, H, 'Antiq J' in Trial excavations in the so-called `Danish Camp' at Warham ..., , Vol. 4, (1933), 399-413
Letter in file, Green, N W B, 1828, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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