Ancient Monuments

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Iron Age defended settlement in Dunterue Wood, 570m south of Castle Head

A Scheduled Monument in Milton Abbot, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5797 / 50°34'46"N

Longitude: -4.2863 / 4°17'10"W

OS Eastings: 238226.098262

OS Northings: 78047.248795

OS Grid: SX382780

Mapcode National: GBR NP.DW9B

Mapcode Global: FRA 17XJ.MY2

Entry Name: Iron Age defended settlement in Dunterue Wood, 570m south of Castle Head

Scheduled Date: 24 April 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020273

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35251

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Milton Abbot

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes part of an Iron Age defended settlement situated on a
low lying spur within a meander of the River Tamar. The monument survives as a
semicircular bank and ditch, which peters out to the south. The bank measures
up to 4m wide and 2m high, whilst the outer ditch is up to 5m wide and 1m
deep. The partially enclosed area measures up to 100m long from south west to
north east by 55m wide from north west to south east. The enclosure is crossed
by a later forest track, which cuts across the earthwork. The monument
probably represents an unfinished enclosure. A promontary fort, 570m to the
north, and another enclosure 500m to the north west may be associated with
this monument and with what would have been a strategically important location
in the later prehistoric period.

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.

Despite some disturbance through forestry activities and the laying of a
track, the partial defended settlement in Dunterue Wood, 570m south of
Castle Head survives comparatively well. It will contain both
archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction
and use of the monument and its landscape context. It is likely to be an
unusual example of an unfinished enclosure.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX37NE506, (1996)

Source: Historic England

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