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Somerset Historic Environment Record

23483

Site Name: Small Down Camp, Evercreech
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Small Down Knoll camp [No:257]
Civil Parish: Evercreech
Comprises:
PRN 23502Barrow cemetery, Small Down Hillfort, Evercreech
PRN 30236Excavation (1904), Small Down Camp, Evercreech
Grid Ref: ST 666 406 (ST 64 SE)
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Image: Image of HER 23483 - Aerial view at strange angle. Photo by Somerset County Council (23 July 1985)
  HER 23483 - Aerial view at strange angle. Photo by Somerset County Council (23 July 1985)

Public access:

As far as we are aware this site is open to the public at certain times. (Open Access Land, Expires 30/09/06). [Information last updated on 14 May 2003]

Details:

Multivallate hillfort covering some 5 acres. The defences are bivallate except on the east side where a counterscarp bank c1m high is also present. On the N, W and S the outer bank has been reduced to a scarp and one outer ditch is filled up. The inner bank on the S side has a sharp vertical profile, possibly caused by ploughing, and a flat top. Towards the E end of this side the bank shows as a flat-topped platform with a higher length of earthwork along its outer edge, creating an impression of a wall-walk behind a breastwork. The two entrances on the E and SE are original. {1}

Excavated in 1904 (PRN 30236) by H. St. G Gray who made eight small cuttings, four in the ditch terminals at the entrances, two on the interior barrows and one in the interior. "Bronze Age" pottery was found in the ditches and in the barrows, in addition to "2 fragments of rather later pottery" in the upper part of the ditch fill. Gray also showed that the two entrances to the E and SE were original. {2}

Grinsell redates Gray's Bronze Age pottery to Iron Age A. {3}

Hillfort encloses a group of about 14 barrows (see PRN 23502). It would appear that the area to the S of the line of barrows has been cultivated at some time, the barrows being just above a slight lynchet which has possibly held a fence. Erosion is starting where cattle climb the slope adjacent to the edge of the woodland on the NE angle. There are two serious and adjacent areas of erosion on the N side of the SE entrance. Here on the W end of the bank there is a scar 5m wide and 1m high and to the E side of this there is a long trialing scar 7m wide and up to 1m high, much brown soil trodden down by cattle. The area of woodland on the N side is fenced off to the crest of the rampart there. To the W of the woodland, there are at least two badgers active. {5}

Scheduled as AM 257a. For the barrow cemetery see PRN 23502. {8}

The site is (1998) in generally very good condition under permanent pasture. There are some small areas of cattle poaching and badger disturbance. {9}

Generally in the same condition as in 1998. The erosion scar on the east side of the southern entrance requires repair and there are plans for scrub and badger removal. {10}

References:

1 Description - Burrow, I. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD.  (1981) British Archaeological Reports 91.
2 Excavation report - Gray, H St G. Excavations at Small Down Camp near Evercreech, 1904. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History  50:2 (1904), 32-49 (page 32-49) Copy available in SANHS library at Somerset Heritage Centre.
3 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 64 SE 7 (1966) Location: HER files.
4 Mention - Grinsell, LV. The Archaeology of Wessex.  (1958), 165, 322.
5 Detailed records - Algar, D [David]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden (24/5/1985) Location: HER files.
6 Aerial photographs - West Air Photography BL 1559.11. contact print. Location: HER files.
7 Aerial photographs - 2.21.8-9. (July 1981) Location: Historic Environment Service slide collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
8 Verbal communication - Dennison, E [Ed]. Somerset County Council, Sites and Monuments Record (09/04/1987). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
9 Detailed records - Graham, A [Alan]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden (4/8/1998) Location: HER files.
10 Site visit report - Graham, A [Alan]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden (5/5/2000) Location: HER files.

Record created in May 1985

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