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Somerset Historic Environment Record

23428

Site Name: Dinies Camp, Downhead
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Earthworks S of Tadhill Farm [No:335]
Civil Parish: Downhead
Grid Ref: ST 6767 4583 (ST 64 NE)
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Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]

Details:

Enclosure in a sheltered situation on a slight N-facing slope. The entrance is at the E and is a simple gap and causeway. The W half of the enclosure has been levelled and may be a habitation or occupation site. The purpose and date is obscure. It is within the boundary of the medieval forest of Selwood but there is no comparable earthwork nearby. It could be a homestead or cattle enclosure. {1}

The enclosure is set at the top of a steepening of the N side of the spur. Where this drops to the stream a slight re-entrant can be seen. Wholly undefensive position. Being eroded by cultivation. {3}

Discovered by APs. On the N side the enclosure survives as a bank 8m wide, 0.75m above the interior and 1.5m above the ditch bottom, this ditch being 4m wide and 0.5m deep. There is a slight counterscarp bank. There is an obvious platform just outside the one E side. {4}

An exploratory section in 1961 revealed a silted V shaped ditch 7ft deep cutting into the bed rock. Beneath the bank was a particularly silted up U-shaped ditch. Charcoal fragments were scattered throughout the silt of both ditches, and Mendip-type flint tools were taken from near the top of a trial hole dug in the centre of the camp. There were no other signs of occupation. {5}

Dinies camp was originally recorded in the early C19 by Colt-Hoare and Skinner and was rediscovered in 1961 from APs. The site is referred to in the 1515 survey of Glastonbury Abbey holdings where it appears as 'Warehanenbergh'. This name also appears in the Mells charter of 942. The 1961 excavation opened a 39 foot long trench across the NE bank near the entrance and three test pits in the interior but little of the archive survives in the Frome Museum. A section drawing of the ditch suggests that the bank overlies an earlier ditch. This ditch itself may be cut into an earlier bank. An earthwork survey carried out in 1997 showed the earthworks to be complex although detailed phasing could not be worked out. The enclosure is about 68m by 50m with the entrance at the E. The earthwork consists of a continuous ditch with an intermittent counterscarp bank and inner bank. The interior is divided into two- the W consists of a sub rectangular raised platform with traces of a bank around 3 sides, the E consists of a lower sub-circular area with a substantial bank on the N which runs up over the raised platform. The S bank is much lower and is cut by a small sub circular platform which also cuts the raised platform. Outside there appears to be the remains of an outer yard area with a trackway leading from the E. {8}

The enclosure of Dinies Camp was observed during a recent survey of aerial photographs. Little detail could be added to that provided by the current map data and the earthwork survey. The external enclosing banks with a central ditch and openings to the east and west were mapped.

Signs of Medieval or Post Medieval ridge and furrow cultivation could be observed however, on photographs from the 1940s. One fragmentary block is situated within the camp, measuring 22m by 20m. Another block is located adjacent to the northern edge of the camp, measuring 60m by 16m. The ridges in both blocks are oriented southwest-northeast. The locations of the blocks of ridge and furrow suggest that they postdate the enclosure. {10}

References:

1 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 64 NE 2 (1967) Location: HER files.
2 Mention - Burrow, I. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD.  (1981) British Archaeological Reports 91.
3 Site visit report - Burrow, I [Ian]. Somerset County Council (17/4/1979) Location: HER files.
4 Verbal communication - Burrow, I [Ian]. Somerset County Council (December 1984). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
5 Mention - Overend, ED. Aerial photographs of the Frome area. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History.  106 (1961-62), 77-80 [page 79]
6 Mention - Overend, ED. Downhead, Dinies Camp. Archaeological Review (CBA Group 13)  2 (1967), 12. Copy available in SANHS library at Somerset Heritage Centre.
7 Aerial photographs - 2.17.1-4. (July 1985) Location: Historic Environment Service slide collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
8 Detailed records - Powlesland, I. Field Survey of Dinies Camp.  (1998) Unpublished report. Location: HER files.
9 Section drawing - Overend, E. The Geology of the Frome Area and some of the matters arising from it.  (1985), 44-5. Copy held in Local Studies collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
10 Verbal communication - Truscoe, K [Krysia]. Somerset County Council Heritage Service (08/12/2005). Location: verbal or direct entry to database, no other records.
11 Aerial photographs - RAF 3G/TUD/UK/15/24/PART III 5271-2. (14/01/1946) Location: National Monuments Record, Swindon.

Record created in May 1985

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