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HER Number:MDV5327
Name:Hembury Fort Neolithic Settlement

Summary

Neolithic occupation at Hembury is represented by a string of causewayed ditches running east to west across the southern end of the site. To the south of this was an extensive habitation area with many cooking pits. Further evidence for Neolithic activity was found towards the northern end of the hillfort. Finds included pottery, flints, axes, querns and charred grain.

Location

Grid Reference:ST 112 031
Map Sheet:ST10SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishAwliscombe
Civil ParishPayhembury
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishAWLISCOMBE
Ecclesiastical ParishPAYHEMBURY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1181774
  • National Monuments Record: 188808
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: ST10SW/4/1
  • Old SAM County Ref: 34
  • Old SAM Ref: 29660
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: ST10SW4

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SETTLEMENT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC (Between))

Full description

Liddell, D. M., 1930, A Report on the Excavations at Hembury Fort, Devon, 1930 (Article in Serial). SDV135816.


Liddell, D. M., 1931, Report of the Excavations at Hembury Fort (Article in Serial). SDV338993.


Liddell, D. M., 1932, Report of the Excavations at Hembury Fort (Article in Serial). SDV338994.


Liddell, D. M., 1932, The Palisade at Hembury Fort (Article in Serial). SDV135845.


Liddell, D. M., 1935, Report on the Excavations at Hembury Fort (Article in Serial). SDV338838.

Liddell's excavations, 1930-35: Neolithic occupation is represented by an east to west causewayed ditch across the centre of the site; south of this was an "extensive habitation site" with numerous cooking pits (which produced a radiocarbon date of circa 3240 BC). A Neolithic ditch underlay the Iron Age defensive works by the ne entrance, and a dwelling hut (hut circle) was excavated by the west entrance. Finds included pottery (similar to Windmill Hill ware) both "local" and "imported", numerous flints and charred grain.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1951 - 1985, ST10SW4 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV135826.

Neolithic causewayed camp at Hembury Fort. Evidence of Neolithic ocupation in the north, west and south of the fort. Other details: Plan. Map object based on this Source.


Fox, A., 1963, Neolithic Charcoal from Hembury, 228-9 (Article in Serial). SDV345740.

Samples were taken during the Liddell excavations of 1930-1935, from the causewayed ditch, and the cooking pits in the southern half of the site. Sample 1: from the bottom of a Neolithic ditch was dated to 3150 + or - 150 BC. Sample 2: from the same ditch sector was dated to 3330 + or - 150 BC. Sample 3: from occupation debris was dated to 3240 + or - 150 BC (Radio-Carbon years)


Fox, A., 1963, Twenty-Seventh Report On Archaeology and Early History, 76 (Article in Serial). SDV124457.

Three samples of carbon from the Neolithic settlement at Hembury Hillfort, have been tested by the British Museum Laboratory. Radio-carbon analysis has shown that they all date within the period 3360-2990 BC. One of the earliest dates yet obtained for Neolithic settlement in Southern Britain.


Peacock, D. P. S., 1969, Neolithic Pottery Production in Cornwall, 145-8 (Article in Serial). SDV135849.

Of the 198 Neolithic potsherds studied, 1/10 were found to originate from the gabbroic clays of the Lizard. This gives an insight into the part of Hembury in neolithic trade or exchange.


Smith, I. F., 1971, Causewayed Enclosures, 89-112 (Article in Monograph). SDV135865.

Discussion of the siting of possible timberwork of defences and cereal economy of the Neolithic site. Re-examines and redraws the stratigraphy of the ditches. Other details: Figure 15.


Wilson, D. R., 1975, Causewayed Camps and Interrupted Ditch Systems, 178, 183 (Article in Serial). SDV135850.


Dennell, R. W., 1976, Prehistoric Crop Cultivation: A Reconsideration, 14,16 (Article in Serial). SDV135839.

Thirteen examples of grain impressions, all of wheat and incorporated accidentally into clay fabric derived from Hembury from the early part of 3rd millennium BC, suggest that wheat must have been the dominant cereal under cultivation at Hembury. Also carbonised spelt from Hembury, probably Neolithic although dating has been under dispute.


Jacobi, R. M., 1979, Early Flandrian Hunters in the South-West, 58 (Article in Serial). SDV117514.


Todd, M., 1981, Excavations at Hembury (Devon), 1980 (Article in Serial). SDV354960.

Excavations in 1980 noted Neolithic features in the area of Roman occupation.


Department of Environment, 1981, Hembury Fort (Schedule Document). SDV345739.

Hembury Fort an Iron Age fort overlying a Neolithic causeway camp. Other details: Monument 34. Map object based on this Source.


Todd, M., 1982, Excavations at Hembury (Devon) in 1982. Interim Report (Report - Interim). SDV135860.

Further excavation in 1982 revealed further evidence for a Neolithic enclosure north of the causeway, defined by a bank and flat bottomed ditch, and containing a number of shallow pits and scrapes.


Todd, M., 1984, Excavations at Hembury (Devon) 1980-3; A Summary Report (Article in Serial). SDV135872.


Williams, E., 1989, Dating the introduction of food production into Britain and Ireland, 518-21 (Article in Serial). SDV340703.

Williams gives a calibrated Carbon14 date range of 6290-5920 BP.


Devon Archaeological Society, 1989, Hembury (Leaflet). SDV135893.

There were several Neolithic earthworks on the hillfort, none of them visible today. Across the southern end of the promontory was a string of causewayed ditches cutting off about 2 acres. There was a wooden gateway with an internal guard chamber. Abundant evidence for occupation was recovered from within the area enclosed by the ditches including pits and hearths and an oval hut close to the entrance. Another earthwork lay on the north-east side of the promontory. The material evidence from Hembury is similar to that from other Neolithic enclosed sites in the south-west and includes pottery bowls and jars in both fine and coarse wares, stone axes from several different sources and flint and chert tools from Beer Head and the Greensand plateau. Carbonised grain, principally wheat and barley, has also been found. Use of the site ended circa 2500BC. As yet very little evidence for Bronze Age activity aside from three barbed and tanged arrowheads has been found.


Mercer, R., 1989, The Earliest Defences in Western Europe. Part 1: Warfare in the Neolithic, 21-2 (Article in Serial). SDV135882.

Mercer interprets the evidence from Liddells's excavations as evidence for a Neolithic siege and destruction.


Oswald, A., 1996, Industry and Enclosure in the Neolithic (Report - non-specific). SDV345741.


Salvatore, J. P., 1998, Hembury Fort (Un-published). SDV135890.

Site visited on 13th January 1998. Neolithic causewayed enclosure at Hembury Fort. Excavations at the site have revealed a series of elongated pits interrupted by causeways which cut off an area of about two acres at the south end of the ridge which corresponds to the south tip of the later Iron Age hillfort. Abundant occupation evidence recovered from the excavations has demonstrated the presence of pits, hearths and structural features including an oval hut, all of which were associated with the Neolithic period with an end date in the third millennium BC, probably before 2500 BC. The traditional interpretation of the site at this period is that of a causewayed enclosure. The site was included in the Royal Commission's national project to record industry and enclosure in the Neolithic period. Other details: MPP 144419.


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 1998, Hembury Fort (Schedule Document). SDV340163.

The monument includes Hembury Fort, a small multivallate hillfort of Iron Age date which occupies the site of an earlier Neolithic causewayed enclosure. The location of the hillfort, on a narrow south facing promontory at the end of a 240 metre high ridge protruding from the Blackdown Hills, was almost certainly chosen for its natural defensive qualities and its extensive views over the Otter River valley and the surrounding countryside. Excavations at the site have revealed the presence of a series of elongated ditches interrupted by causeways which cut off an area of about 0.8 hectares at the southern end of the ridge which corresponds to the southern tip of the later hillfort. Abundant occupation evidence recovered from the excavations has demonstrated that this occupation was of the Neolithic period with an end date in the third millennium BC, probably before 2500 BC. The traditional interpretation of the site at this period is that of a causewayed enclosure. Other details: Monument 29660.


National Monuments Record, 2010, 1181774 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV345742.

The remains of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure overlain by the substantial earthworks of an Iron Age multivallate hillfort. Excavations between 1930 and 1935 by Dorothy Liddell first revealed evidence for Neolithic use of the spur. An arc comprising 8 ditch segments was uncovered, emerging from beneath the later ramparts immediately to the south of the hillfort's western entrance and running east across the interior before gently curving south and disappearing below the ramparts on the eastern side. A further Neolithic ditch was found in the area of the hillfort's north east entrance, suggesting the possibility of a second enclosure circuit. An area of Neolithic activity, represented by a scatter of pits, post holes and artefacts was also examined at the southern tip of the spur within the later ramparts. Excavations in 1980-83 by Todd uncovered evidence for further Neolithic activity to the north of the main causewayed enclosure, represented by pits and a ditch segment. The site was included in the Royal commission's Industry and Enclosure in the Neolithic project. A brief site visit was undertaken, but as all the extant earthworks are Iron Age or later, no further survey work was undertaken.


National Monuments Record, 2010, 188808 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV345738.

The earthwork remains of an Iron Age multivallate hillfort overlying the remains of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure.


Todd, M., Sept 1981, Hembury (Devon). Excavation in 1981 (Report - Interim). SDV135828.

Further excavation in this area in 1981 found one Neolithic pit.


Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Unknown, Hembury Fort (Causeway Camp and Hillfort) (Worksheet). SDV359103.

Complete ground and polished axe, slightly flattened oval in section and considerably chipped at the butt end from hafting. Length 110 millimetres, widtch 60 millimetres, thickness 30 millimetres. Made of micaceous green fine-grained sandstone. Though this stone might occur in the Bunter pebble beds its true location is in North Devon. Found Cutting XL1 layer 2, top of black layer. These 'celts' are particularly interesing as they of the type of rock that enters into the composition of the pottery thus the probably imported pottery and implements are linked together.

Sources / Further Reading

  • Article in Serial: Jacobi, R. M.. 1979. Early Flandrian Hunters in the South-West. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 37. A5 Paperback. 58.
  • Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1963. Twenty-Seventh Report On Archaeology and Early History. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 95. A5 Paperback. 76.
  • Article in Serial: Liddell, D. M.. 1930. A Report on the Excavations at Hembury Fort, Devon, 1930. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 1 Part 2. Paperback Volume.
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1951 - 1985. ST10SW4. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
  • Report - Interim: Todd, M.. Sept 1981. Hembury (Devon). Excavation in 1981. University of Exeter. A4 Stapled + Digital.
  • Article in Serial: Dennell, R. W.. 1976. Prehistoric Crop Cultivation: A Reconsideration. Antiquaries Journal. 56. Unknown. 14,16.
  • Article in Serial: Liddell, D. M.. 1932. The Palisade at Hembury Fort. Antiquity. 6. Unknown.
  • Article in Serial: Peacock, D. P. S.. 1969. Neolithic Pottery Production in Cornwall. Antiquity. 43. Unknown. 145-8.
  • Article in Serial: Wilson, D. R.. 1975. Causewayed Camps and Interrupted Ditch Systems. Antiquity. 49. Unknown. 178, 183.
  • Report - Interim: Todd, M.. 1982. Excavations at Hembury (Devon) in 1982. Interim Report. University of Exeter. A4 Stapled + Digital.
  • Article in Monograph: Smith, I. F.. 1971. Causewayed Enclosures. Economy and Settlement in Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Britain and Europe. Unknown. 89-112.
  • Article in Serial: Todd, M.. 1984. Excavations at Hembury (Devon) 1980-3; A Summary Report. Antiquaries Journal. 64. Photocopy + Digital.
  • Article in Serial: Mercer, R.. 1989. The Earliest Defences in Western Europe. Part 1: Warfare in the Neolithic. Fortress. 2. Photocopy + Digital. 21-2.
  • Un-published: Salvatore, J. P.. 1998. Hembury Fort. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Unknown.
  • Leaflet: Devon Archaeological Society. 1989. Hembury. Field Guide. 5. Leaflet + Digital.
  • Article in Serial: Liddell, D. M.. 1935. Report on the Excavations at Hembury Fort. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. II: Part 3. A5 Paperback.
  • Article in Serial: Liddell, D. M.. 1931. Report of the Excavations at Hembury Fort. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. 1 Part 3. Paperback Volume.
  • Article in Serial: Liddell, D. M.. 1932. Report of the Excavations at Hembury Fort. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. 1 Part 4. Paperback Volume.
  • Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 1998. Hembury Fort. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
  • Article in Serial: Williams, E.. 1989. Dating the introduction of food production into Britain and Ireland. Antiquity. 63. Unknown. 518-21.
  • National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 188808. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
  • Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1981. Hembury Fort. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
  • Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1963. Neolithic Charcoal from Hembury. Antiquity. 37. Unknown. 228-9.
  • Report - non-specific: Oswald, A.. 1996. Industry and Enclosure in the Neolithic. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
  • National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 1181774. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
  • Article in Serial: Todd, M.. 1981. Excavations at Hembury (Devon), 1980. University of Exeter Department of History & Archaeology: Fieldwork and Excavation Annual Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
  • Worksheet: Royal Albert Memorial Museum. Unknown. Hembury Fort (Causeway Camp and Hillfort). Royal Albert Memorial Museum Finds Sheet. Worksheet + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV1853Part of: Hembury Hillfort (Monument)
MDV112692Related to: Causewayed Enclosure at Hembury Fort (Monument)
MDV1854Related to: Hembury Fort Roman Occupation (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV1163 - ARROWHEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV1159 - AXE HEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV5738 - AXE HEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV5786 - AXE HEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV5740 - BEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV1160 - BLADE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV1165 - CORE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV1158 - FLAKE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV1161 - KNIFE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV5745 - PLANT MACRO REMAINS (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV1167 - POT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV5739 - QUERN (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV1164 - SCRAPER (TOOL) (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV1162 - WHETSTONE (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)

Associated Events

  • EDV6794 - Excavations at Hembury Fort
  • EDV6798 - Excavations at Hembury Hillfort

Date Last Edited:Feb 8 2018 3:40PM