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Rampart of an Iron Age defended settlement 410m south west of Mount Scylla Farm

A Scheduled Monument in North Wraxall, Wiltshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4679 / 51°28'4"N

Longitude: -2.2428 / 2°14'34"W

OS Eastings: 383229.643561

OS Northings: 174349.033328

OS Grid: ST832743

Mapcode National: GBR 1QT.XFP

Mapcode Global: VH969.2CPL

Entry Name: Rampart of an Iron Age defended settlement 410m south west of Mount Scylla Farm

Scheduled Date: 17 June 1970

Last Amended: 24 January 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019508

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34190

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: North Wraxall

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Colerne with N Wraxall

Church of England Diocese: Bristol

Details

The monument includes the rampart of an Iron Age defended settlement defining
the eastern edge of a spur of Oolitic limestone on the west side of the valley
of the By Brook. The location commands extensive views to the north east and
south west across the valley as the brook meanders around a spur to the west
of Slaughterford.
The earthwork consists of two straight sections joining at a slight angle. It
is situated at the top of a relatively gentle slope to the east, ending where
it joins a much steeper slope to the south. The northern section runs north
west to south east for 115m and consists of a rampart but no ditch.
Since the section is located on sloping ground, the rampart measures 0.1m high
from the western side and 2m from the eastern side. This section forms a field
boundary and is surmounted by the remains of a later dry stone wall.
The section to the south runs from NNE to SSW for 140m ending at a point at
which the slope to the south becomes very steep. It comprises a bank up to
0.3m high from the west and 2.8m high from the east. The bank is 8.4m wide and
is flanked to the east by a ditch 7m wide and up to 0.5m deep, beyond which a
slight counterscarp bank up to 0.2m high is visible in places. To the south
the bank and ditch are crossed by a modern track at the top of the southern
slope.
Together with the steep slope to the south and the north, the earthwork
defines an area of about 3ha, although the full extent of the monument to the
west is not known. The site is mentioned by the antiquarian John Aubrey who
describes it as a `rampard with graffe (ditch) eastward, but no camp'.
All fenceposts and walls are excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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

During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were
constructed and occupied in south western England. At the top of the
settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition
to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also
constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent
positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an
enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen
construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate
sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second
phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where
excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the
enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied
by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group.
Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element
of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south western
England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified
settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are likely to be
identified as nationally important.

Although only the rampart is known, this portion of the Iron Age defended
settlement 410m south west of Mount Scylla Farm represents a well-preserved
example of this rare monument type, providing an important insight into the
late prehistoric settlement of this area. It was recorded in the 18th century
by the antiquarian John Aubrey and was, in earlier times, thought to have been
a cross-ridge dyke, a form of prehistoric boundary. However, more recent
archaeological investigations have confirmed its interpretation as an Iron Age
rampart.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Aubrey, , Jackson, , Wiltshire Collections, (1862), 76

Source: Historic England

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