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Somerset Historic Environment Record

23292

Site Name: Iron age promontory fort, Blackers Hill, Chilcompton
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Small multivallate promontory fort on Blacker's Hill [No:29032]
Civil Parish: Chilcompton
Comprises:
PRN 12214Geophysical Survey (1999), Blackers Hillfort, Chilcompton
PRN 12215Excavation (1950-54), Blackers Hillfort
Grid Ref: ST 636 500 (ST 65 SW)
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Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown but it should be visible from a public right of way. Please assume that the site is private property. [Information last updated on 16 December 2002]

Details:

Promontory fort 15 acres in extent. Original defences still seen on the NW (40ft high) while on the NE side there is an inner bank of 6-8ft, an outer of 10-12ft and 40ft from crest to crest. On the NE there is a simple gap forming the entrance. {1}

The site lies in pasture land formerly ploughed. The defences are used as field boundaries and are partly wooded. Previously attracted little attention but shows some unique features. The defences consisted originally of two banks and ditches forming two sides of a roughly rectangular area whose other sides are defined by steep natural slopes, apparently without defences. The inner bank and ditch have been destroyed on the NE. Gaps exist near the centre of the NW side, at the N angle and towards the S end of the NE side The first two are for agricultural access but the last, though confused by surface quarrying and recent field boundaries, appears to be original with a slight inturn on the terminals of the outer bank. The most striking feature of the defences is the small scale of the inner rampart, which is in places about 1m lower than the outer. The ground slopes gradually down to the SW across the enclosure and so there is a large area of "dead ground" in front of the outer bank concealed from an observer standing on the inner rampart as it now exists. {5}

The banks are very steep, outer 3m high, 9m wide at base ditch 3.5m wide, inner bank 2.5m high and 9m wide. Recent damage is minimal but there are three areas of bad erosion to inner sides of the ramparts. Badgers are doing a lot of damage to the internal structure of the outer bank on the W Elsewhere there are rabbits which have caused internal collapse. {6}

Scheduling revised with new national number on 31.1.1997 (was Somerset 53). {9}

The site is in good condition apart from some badger damage to the N and some slight cattle poaching. The ramparts are becoming scrub covered. {10}

A geophysical survey was undertaken in 1999, revealing occupation features on the interior and the suggestion of an entrance to the NE, PRN 12214. An excavation across the eastern ramparts was undertaken by the Downside Archaeological Society in 1950-54 PRN 12215. {11}

References:

1 Mention - Allcroft, AH. Earthworks of England.  (1908), 58-60.
2 Sketch plan - Allcroft, AH. Earthworks of England.  (1908)
3 Mention - Victoria County History of Somerset 1911 vol 2, 487
4 Sketch plan - Victoria County History of Somerset 1911 vol 2, 487
5 Description - Burrow, I. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD British Archaeological Reports 91 (1981)
6 Detailed records - HBMC Field Monument Wardens report (SCC Planning Department)
7 Mention - Burrow, E.J 1924 "Earthworks and Camps of Somerset", 70-1
8 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division 1966 ST65SW24 (SCC Planning Department)
9 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council (7.2.1997) in HER files
10 Detailed records - Graham, A [Alan]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden (23/7/1998) Location: HER files.
11 Survey report - Allen, E. A Geophysical Survey of an Iron Age Hillfort at Blackers Hill, Chilcompton, North Somerset.  (1999) BSc report. Location: HER files under PRN 12214.

Record created in April 1985

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