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Somerset Historic Environment Record

55112

Site Name: Roman occupation, Ham Hill, S of Stoke sub Hamdon
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Hamdon Hill camp [No:100]
Civil Parish: Montacute, Norton sub Hamdon, Stoke sub Hamdon
Part of:
PRN 55103Ham Hill Hillfort, south of Stoke sub Hamdon
Comprises:
PRN 15383Roman armour find, Ham Hill
PRN 16253Cultivation remains, Ham Hill
PRN 16256Quarrying remains, Ham Hill
PRN 56912Roman villa, Ham Hill, Stoke sub Hambdon
Grid Ref: ST 48 16 (ST 41 NE)
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Public access:

As far as we are aware this site is no longer visible. Please assume that this site is private property and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 13 December 2002]

Details:

The Iron Age hillfort at Ham Hill (PRN 55103) seems to be the focus of substantial occupation in the Roman period. Large numbers of finds have been made during quarrying activities and some excavation has taken place. Some of the finds have a military character and it is possible that a fort existed on the northern spur. Also in this area (ST 47951728) a small oval enclosure has been suggested as an amphitheatre although excavation did not prove this and it is perhaps unlikely. The later Roman activity on the northern spur was probably associated with the quarrying of Ham stone which was used throughout the region. A villa was excavated on the eastern side with 19 rooms recorded and mosaic floors. {1}

Several human skeletons were found while cutting a road at the N point of Hamdon Hill (ST47651730) which were probably Roman. {2}

Roman coins and other finds were found at ST47761727. {6}

Various other enclosures of unknown date have been recorded. {7}

A skull and coins etc were found during quarrying 1816-1860 at ST47811671. The coins, varying from Domitian (AD81) to Constantine (AD306) were contained in a crock. Pieces of weapons were also found. {8}

Roman pottery and a 3rd brass found by J.S and W Cox in March 1950. There appears to be laid masonry at a depth of 9" at a point 60ft from the hedge and 120ft from the corner of the field and the road (ST48861634). Much Roman pottery was noted at ST48761635 after ploughing in 1950. Nine coins (Claudius Gothicus to Valentinianus I) were recorded in 1924 as having been recently picked up by Mr F.V Cornish at the E end of Butchers Hill, a little S of where the coin hoard was found. {9}

The field is ploughed and many fragments of coarse Roman ware are scattered over the E end of the field. A half blade of a bronze chisel-like implement was found at ST48621631. Purpose and period uncertain - considered by Bristol Museum to be Roman and by Taunton Museum as Bronze age. {10}

Inspection of an area 300ft by 90ft at ST48811631 in September 1967 revealed the presence of black and some grey RB pottery, several pieces of Samian and New Forest ware, quantities of building stone and clay tiles including fragments of flue tiles. {11}

A vessel containing 338 sestertii, dug up in 1882 in an orchard near Bedmor Barn just within the E side of the earthworks where the lane from Montacute reaches the plateau (ST48881642), was given to Taunton Museum in 1915 by W.R Phelps. {13}

Two other pots, also full of similar coins were found at the same time and place. The whole hoard probably numbered slightly over 1000 coins from Republican to Postumus, and must have been concealed after AD260. {15}

Forty-three coins now in Taunton Museum, from Dr W.W Walters collection (1901) may be among the 293 coins (Domitian to Philip) found in a pit formerly in the possession of Col G Harding, the remainder of which have not been traced. {16}

Other coins in the museum probably from this hoard are two from Dr R.H Walter (1908). {18}

Nine from Dr N Norris (1911). {19}

Twenty-three from Mr H Franklin (1917). {20}

Also 97 sesterii forming part of the above hoard, donor unknown, but given before 1901, possibly by W.R Phelps. {21}

A further 284 sestertii from the above hoard were deposited by Mr H Troyte-Bullock in 1939. Seaby thought that the 23 coins from Mr H Franklin may not belong to this hoard because of the difference in patination and the wide range of single coins. {22}

Excavations in May 1907 and September 1912 in a field known as "the warren" in the SE portion of Ham Hill revealed the outlines of a corridor type Roman villa about 160ft by 40ft (PRN 56912). Another, apparently otherwise unrecorded, hoard of C3 bronze coins from the E extremity of Ham Hill Camp is in Christchurch Library, Oxford. 383 coins are still contained in the coarse grey cooking pot in which they were found. Some coins were removed to the "Wake" collection (one of Trajan and one of Marius were mentioned). Still remaining are: 7 Gallienus, 6 Postumus, 11 Claudius Gothicus, 93 Victorius, 119 Tetricus I, 41 Tetricus II and 106 C3 radiates. It may well be connected (or possibly confused) with the other hoards. {26}

See PRN 15383 for more recent finds of armour. {27}

The Romans may have had a garrison based in the northwestern corner, adapting existing defences rather than building a new fort. In later years the circuit may have formed a estate boundary for the Villa (PRN 56912). {28}

See PRN 16253 for details of cultivation on hill slope and PRN 16256 for details of quarrying activities. {29}

References:

1 Description - Adkins, L and Adkins, R. Ham Hill, Somerset - Project Synopsis.  Unpublished Lesley and Roy Adkins report (1992) Location: HER files under PRN 55103.
2 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 41 NE 14 (1964) Location: HER files
3 Mention - Archaeologia  21 (1827) (page 40)
4 Mention - Page, W. Victoria History of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 1 (1906), 296.
5 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 41 NE 16 (1967) Location: HER files
6 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 41 NE 13 (1964) Location: HER files
7 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 41 NE 17 (1967) Location: HER files
8 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 41 NE 15 (1964) Location: HER files
9 Mention - Antiquity  4 (1924) (page 428)
10 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 41 NE 10 (1970) Location: HER files.
11 Mention - Berry, DM. Roman building at Butcher's Hill .... Notes and Queries for Somerset and Dorset  29 (1968), 28-9 Copy available in Local Studies collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
12 Mention - Berryman, DM. Montacute, Ham Hill, The Warren. Archaeological Review (CBA Group 13)  5 (1970), 28
13 Mention - Leech, RH. Romano-British Rural Settlement in South Somerset and North Dorset.  (1977) unpublished PhD thesis, University of Bristol. Location: HER collections. [gazeteer xvi]
14 Museum accession number - TTNCM A.1862-7. Stored at Museum collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
15 Museum accession number - TTNCM A.1841-2. Stored at Museum collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
16 Museum accession number - TTNCM A.3333. Stored at Museum collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
17 Museum accession number - TTNCM A.1842. Stored at Museum collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
18 Museum accession number - TTNCM A.3338. Stored at Museum collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
19 Museum accession number - TTNCM A.3334. Stored at Museum collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
20 Museum accession number - TTNCM A.3339. Stored at Museum collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
21 Museum accession number - TTNCM A.3337. Stored at Museum collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
22 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 41 NE 9 (1964) Location: HER files.
23 Mention - Seaby, WA. Coinage from Ham Hill in the County Museum, Taunton. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History  95 (1950), 143-158
24 Aerial photographs - 5.80.168-169. (July 1984) Location: Historic Environment Service slide collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
25 Mention - Journal of the Royal Society  21 (1931) (page 241)
26 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 41 NE 11 (1964) Location: HER files.
27 Verbal communication - Webster, C [Chris]. Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record (28/03/2002). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
28 Survey report - Dunn, C. Ham Hill, Somerset.  Unpublished Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England report (1997) with plans. Report location: HER files under PRN 29358.
29 Compiler comment - Nicholas, M [Matthew]. Somerset County Council, Heritage Service (28/05/2003). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
30 Detailed records - Walter, RH. Ham or Hamdon Hill, South Somerset. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History  53 (1907), 179-82

Record created in October 1992

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