MSO7352 - Possible hillslope enclosure northwest of Blackford (Monument)


The remains of a possible Iron Age or Romano-British hillslope enclosure survive as a curvilinear earthwork, apparently forming the eastern quadrant of a former enclosure about 70 metres in diameter.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Centred (SS 86154416) Crop mark. Terrace with small outer bank. Evidently caused by farm carts etc. [1,2] Earthwork seen as a semi-circular bank with ditch outside. [3] From the opposite hillside the feature shows up well as a cropmark, almost circular in definition. Two banks and a ditch are apparent. The site has roughly the correct dimensions to be a hillslope enclosure. [4] At SS 8617 4418, on a south east slope of about 1 in 10, is a curvilinear earthwork, apparently the eastern quadrant of a former enclosure (it cannot be defined as a trackway by size, shape, or situation - see [1]). It consists of an arc of bank 80 metres long, 7 metres wide overall, 0.5 metres high on the outer side and 0.1 metres high on the inner face. It has been formed by scarping or quarrying on the inner side, resulting in a distinct ditch like slope 5 metres long and 0.5 metres high, separated from the base of the bank by 2 metres. This extends round from south to east, but for a short distance on the east side, where the bank starts to run at right angles to the contours, there is a supplementary outer ditch, 5 metres wide and 0.1 metres deep. For 20 to 35 metres inside the earthwork the ground is fairly level, probably a natural shelf backed on the northwest by a local rise 20 metres long and 1.0 metres high. There is a wide gap in the southsouthwest approached from the interior by a faint hollow, 22 metres long, 8 metres wide and barely 0.1 metre deep. It is uncertain whether this is relevant to the earthwork, although an entrance may have occupied part of the gap. Equally uncertain are the isolated traces of a possible bank 30 metres northwest of the northern termination. The earthwork is in a field of permanent pasture but has evidently been well cleared and ploughed in the past. Only the arc of bank and scarp appears on an NMR aerial photograph [5]. The remains indicate an enclosure for which an internal diameter of about 70 metres can be postulated assuming the original to have been of fairly circular form. This would be similar to two of the four homestead enclosures at Sweetworthy (MSO7333 and MSO7345) which by analogy with other Somerset and Devon enclosures may be assigned a date in the late Iron Age and/or Romano British periods. [6] A curvilinear earthwork bank up to 8 metres wide is visible on aerial photographs centred on circa SS 8651 4417, to the east of Blackford Combe. The bank may be the earthwork remains of a sub-circular enclosure of Iron Age or Romano British date. Visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards, the earthwork is very subtle and has been almost completely levelled, probably during modern agricultural improvement. The northeastern quadrant of the enclosure bank is visible for approximately 104 metres, defining an ovoid enclosure with its long axis following the contour on a roughly north to south alignment. On the basis of the evidence visible on the aerial photographs it is possible to suggest internal dimensions of roughly 55 metres by 35 metres. [7-10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. Various. Annotated corrections on Ordnance Survey map. As specified. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 6 inch (1962), SS 84 SE.
  • <2> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 21 June 1965.
  • <3> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information or Staff Comments. M Aston, Somerset County Council, 1 March 1977.
  • <4> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information or Staff Comments. E Dennison, Somerset County Council, 9 October 1987.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . NMR SS 8644 1 292 (7 March 1979).
  • <6> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 27 July 1987.
  • <7> Collection: RCHME: Exmoor Pilot Survey, SS 84 SE, Somerset.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106UK/1501 4201-3 (F20) (13 May 1946).
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. ENPA MAL 77013 (INFRA RED) 013-014 (20 May 1977).
  • <10> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 8644/9 (18256/31) 11 February 1999.



Grid reference Centred SS 8613 4417 (56m by 77m) (Aerial survey)
Map sheet SS84SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO159
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11345
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE45
  • National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 36080
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33701

Record last edited

Aug 29 2014 10:20AM


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