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Oldbury Camp univallate hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Hartshill, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.5489 / 52°32'56"N

Longitude: -1.5401 / 1°32'24"W

OS Eastings: 431281.1232

OS Northings: 294665.2915

OS Grid: SP312946

Mapcode National: GBR 6KF.1G5

Mapcode Global: VHBWC.8659

Entry Name: Oldbury Camp univallate hillfort

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1981

Last Amended: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018855

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21586

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Hartshill

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Mancetter St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument is situated to the north east of Oldbury Grange and includes the
earthworks and buried remains of part of Oldbury Camp, a univallate hillfort.
The hillfort utilises a prominent ridge which rises to the west of the village
of Hartshill and occupies an area of some 2.8ha. Oldbury Camp originally
extended south east of the area of protection, but this area to the south east
has been extensively modified by the construction of buildings associated with
both the now demolished Georgian house, Oldbury Hall, which occupied part of
the site until it was levelled in 1948, and a reservoir which was operational
by 1954 and occupies the central part of the hillfort's interior.

Traces of the hillfort's defensive earthworks, a bank and external ditch, are
visible along the north east, north west and south west sides. The best
preserved section of the bank forms the north western defences to the site. It
is visible as an earthwork, with a maximum width of 6.5m at its base, although
its central section has been breached. In the late 1940s an excavation trench
through the north eastern defences recovered evidence demonstrating that the
bank was constructed of rubble held on the inside by a line of stone packing.
Much of the external ditch has been infilled but will survive as a buried
feature and is included in the scheduling where it survives. The north
western section has, however for the most part, been removed by quarrying
activities. A causeway across the ditch at the north west corner is believed
to mark the site of an original entrance to the hillfort.

The central part of the hillfort's interior has been greatly modified by the
construction of the underground reservoir in the mid-20th century, and this
area is thus not included in the scheduling. However, those parts of the
interior immediately adjacent to the hillfort's defences survive relatively
undisturbed and are believed to retain buried features associated with the
occupation of the site and are, therefore, included in the scheduling.

All fenceposts, modern walls and the surfaces of paths and driveways 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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes,
generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and
defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively
small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth -
fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to
their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have
generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places
of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a
rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access
to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple
gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation
indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate
features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few
examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large
storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and
square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often
represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight
univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally.
Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of
the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is
relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the
Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within
the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh
Marches, central and southern England. In view of the rarity of slight
univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition
between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive
comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further
archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Oldbury Camp represents the only known example of a slight univallate hillfort
in this part of Warwickshire and the trial excavation of a section across the
north eastern rampart demonstrated that the site retains well preserved
features, including information relating to the hillfort's construction. Those
parts of the interior which are included in the scheduling survive relatively
undisturbed and are believed to retain both structural and artefactual
evidence relating to the occupation of the site and the wealth and status of
its inhabitants.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Dugdale, W, Antiquities of Warwickshire, (1730)
Ferris, I M, Sterenberg, J, 'Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit Report' in An Archaeological Evaluation at Oldbury Camp, near Nuneaton, , Vol. 206, (1992)
Dauncey, K.D.M., Oldbury, Excavation 1949: Advance summary (unpublished),

Source: Historic England

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