Battlesbury Camp is the site of an Iron Age bivallate hill fort on Battlesbury Hill near the town of Warminster in Wiltshire, South West England. Excavations and surveys at the site have uncovered various finds and archaeological evidence.
Iron age earth walls and ditch, at the eastern edge of Battlesbury Hillfort
Shown within Wiltshire
|Periods||Bronze Age, Iron Age|
Hill forts developed in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age, roughly the start of the first millennium BC. The reason for their emergence in Britain, and their purpose, has been a subject of debate. It has been argued that they could have been military sites constructed in response to invasion from continental Europe, sites built by invaders, or a military reaction to social tensions caused by an increasing population and consequent pressure on agriculture. The dominant view since the 1960s has been that the increasing use of iron led to social changes in Britain. Deposits of iron ore were located in different places to the tin and copper ore necessary to make bronze, and as a result trading patterns shifted and the old elites lost their economic and social status. Power passed into the hands of a new group of people. Archaeologist Barry Cunliffe believes that population increase still played a role and has stated "[the forts] provided defensive possibilities for the community at those times when the stress [of an increasing population] burst out into open warfare. But I wouldn't see them as having been built because there was a state of war. They would be functional as defensive strongholds when there were tensions and undoubtedly some of them were attacked and destroyed, but this was not the only, or even the most significant, factor in their construction".
Battlesbury occupies the summit of an irregular point of down, with its defences following the natural contours of the hill, and being by nature of the site almost inaccessible on the west and northeast sides. It has triple ditches and ramparts for the most part, with double on the southeast side. The site encloses 23.5 acres in all. There are entrances at the northwest and northwest corners.
Pits found within the fortifications contained late Iron Age pottery, the hub of a chariot wheel, an iron carpenter's saw, a latch-lifter for a hut door, querns, whetstones, sling stones, and animal bones. These all indicate a permanent occupation and date from the 1st century BC. Unfortunately it is suspected that the hills inhabitants came to a violent end, due to the many graves containing men, women and children outside of the northwest entrance. It can only be guessed at whether Roman legions put people to the sword, or if this was the result of intertribal warfare sometime before the Roman conquest.
The southwest area of the hill fort is apparently built over and around preceding Bronze Age burial mounds or tumuli. Part of the inner ditch is occupied by a large circular barrow, which was excavated, but was found empty. A few feet further to the west are two other barrows, over which the great inner rampart passes; these on opening, proved to be sepulchral: in the largest was found a cist containing burned human bones at the depth of two feet; and in the smallest, two skeletons were found, lying from south to north, the head of the smallest reclining on the breast of the other. On the breast of the largest skeleton there was a small ring or bead of stone, which was probably worn as an amulet.
Later excavations and surveys adjacent to Battlesbury Camp hill fort in 1998 have also uncovered late Bronze Age to middle Iron Age settlement activity including for ditches, roundhouses, four-post structures and numerous pits. Some of the pits contained human burials, and other deposits of artefacts and animal bones which appear to have been formally placed.
The site is at grid reference , to the east of the town of Warminster, in the county of Wiltshire. The hill has a summit of 208m AOD and is marked by an Ordnance Survey triangulation station. Nearby to the southeast lies the hill fort of Scratchbury Camp on Scratchbury hill. The site and surrounding downs are easily accessible by public footpath, however, care must be taken not to stray into the military firing ranges of Salisbury Plain immediately to the northeast.
Berrow Green is a village in Worcestershire, England.Capler Camp
Capler Camp is an Iron Age hill fort located 2.5 km south of Fownhope, Herefordshire.
The Camp is on a hill top above the River Wye. It has a double layer of ditches enclosing ten acres.Chilworth Ring
Chilworth Ring is the site of a small univallate Iron Age hillfort located in Hampshire. The site has now been developed into circle of detached houses lying within the ramparts, constructed sometime in the 1960s. The original bank can only be seen in the Eastern quadrant where it is followed by the road. The nearby Castle Hill earthwork to the west is thought to have been a cattle enclosure. The road serving the houses is called The Ring.Chisenbury Camp
Chisenbury Camp is the site of an Iron Age univallate hillfort located in Wiltshire, England. The site comprises a small circular 5 acre enclosure that was levelled in 1931. A post was part excavated while being demolished. The site was partially excavated in the 19th century and there were finds of ceramics, worked stone, worked animal bone and remains of human burial.The site currently lies within the bounds of a small grass strip airfield, the former RAF Upavon, and is run through by the perimeter access road on the southern side of the field.Croft Ambrey
Croft Ambrey is a British Iron Age hill fort in northern Herefordshire, 10 kilometres (6 mi) north of Leominster close to the present day county border with South Shropshire.Dinedor Camp
Dinedor Camp is a Hill fort on Dinedor Hill, Dinedor, near Hereford in England.
Archaeological excavations have found material ranging from 1700 BCE to 1100 CE.Eldersfield
Eldersfield is a village and civil parish in the Malvern Hills district of Worcestershire, England. It stands exactly ten miles east of Ledbury and ten miles north of Gloucester; this fact can be found on a milestone on the side of the B4211 road that runs through Corse Lawn. The parish church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist and is in the Diocese of Worcester. The parish registers survive from 1718, and there are bishops' transcripts for the earlier registers starting in 1561.Flower's Barrow
Flower’s Barrow is an Iron Age hillfort, built over 2500 years ago, above Worbarrow Bay in Dorset on the south coast of England.Grimsbury Castle
Grimsbury Castle is an Iron Age "multiple enclosure" Hill Fort comprising a large circular encampment situated on a high hill. It is situated within Grimsbury Wood to the between Cold Ash and Hermitage, in the county of Berkshire.Hascombe Hill
Hascombe Hill or Hascombe Camp is the site of an Iron Age multivallate hill fort close to the village of Hascombe in Surrey, England.Holkham Camp
Holkham Camp, or Holkham Fort, is an Iron Age fort in Norfolk, England, about 1 mile (1.6 km) north-west of the village of Holkham.Ivington Camp
Ivington Camp is an Iron Age hill fort located at Brierley, 3 km south of Leominster, Herefordshire.Lewesdon Hill
Lewesdon Hill is a hill, 279 metres (915 ft) high, in west Dorset, England. It is the highest point in Dorset.Overbury
Overbury is a village and civil parish in Worcestershire, England, midway between Evesham and Tewkesbury south of Bredon Hill.
The manor of Overbury was purchased by the banking family of Martin in the 18th century from the Parsons family, members of whom also owned neighbouring Kemerton Court. The Martins rebuilt Overbury Court in c.1740, and it is still occupied by their descendants in 2018.
In 2014, Roman skeletons were found at Overbury Primary School when extensions to the school were being built.Padderbury Top
Padderbury Top is a hillfort about 2 miles (3.2 km) south-east of Menheniot, in Cornwall, England, named after the hill on which it is situated.
It has been a scheduled monument since 17 March 1977.Poston Camp
Poston Camp is an Iron Age hill fort located just south of Vowchurch, Herefordshire.Wapley Hill
Wapley Hill is an Iron Age hill fort located in Herefordshire, England, 3 km south-east of Presteigne.Woolbury
Woolbury, or Woolbury Ring, is the site of an Iron Age univallate hill fort on Stockbridge Down, Hampshire, England.Woolsbarrow Hillfort
Woolsbarrow Hillfort is a hillfort on Bloxworth Heath in the district of Purbeck in the county of Dorset, England. It dates to the period from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age (8th–5th centuries BC) and is classed as an ancient monument. Despite the hillfort only being at an altitude of 220 feet (67 m) it is said to "dominate the surrounding heathland."