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Historic England Research Records

Cherbury

Hob Uid: 229424
Location :
Oxfordshire
Vale of White Horse
Charney Bassett
Grid Ref : SU3745096330
Summary : Iron Age multivallate hillfort containing cropmarks of a hut circle and pits. Well preserved although the outer Limestone blocks are visible in all the ramparts, but more numerous and conspicuous in the inner. Excavations in 1939 revealed a cobbled entrance way. Iron Age pottery and gold coin, an Early Medieval brooch, Neolithic flint axe and a Bronze Age arrowheads have been recovered from the site. Although the excavation suggests that the hillfort existed Iron Age, the nature of Early Iron Age occupation remains uncertain.
More information : [SU 374 963] Cherbury Camp [GT]. (1)

SU 374 963. Cherbury Camp, Charney Bassett, a multivallate Iron Age hillfort consisting of a triple bank and ditch with traces of a slight counterscarp on the north-west.

It was partially excavated by J.S.P. Bradford in 1939 and dated by him to circa AD 1-20.

The only entrance was midway along the eastern side. The excavation revealed a metalled causeway which, after passing through the entrance, became a cobbled street; drystone revetment of the entrance and inner bank; gate post holes; and quantities of Iron Age A.B. and late A.2 pottery. The interior was not excavated. Bradford considers the site analogous with Gadbury Bank, Worcs and Salmondbury, Glos.

Other finds from Cherbury Camp include a polished flint celt (6) two flint arrowheads (4) a gold coin of Cunobelinus (3) and an Anglo-Saxon square-headed brooch (7). (2-7)

Cherbury Camp is unusually situated on a very slight rise surrounded by low lying ground, which must have been very wet before the digging of modern field ditches. The three grass covered ramparts are well preserved, although the outer had been partially destroyed by a modern field track. Limestone blocks are visible in all the ramparts but are much more numerous and conspicuous in the inner, which appears to have been surmounted by a wall. Surveyed at 1:2500.

A broken barbed and tanged arrowhead was found on a wooded foot-bridge, just west of the earthwork at SU 3725 9626, during field investigation by Mr. S.W. Palmer and remains in his possession.

There are 7 I.A. sherds "from Cherbury Camp" in Newbury Museum (no. acc. numbers). The finds from the 1939 excavations are in store at the Ashmolean Museum and unaccessioned. The Saxon square-headed brooch is in the Ashmolean, (Acc. 1931-527). A Reading Museum note states that the gold coin of Cunobelinus was in Abingdon Library Museum. This is now defunct, and the coin has not been seen in Abingdon Museum which supplanted it. (8)

Re-examination of potsherds surviving from Bradford's excavations suggests that they are generally of Middle Iron Age date (9, 10). Fieldwork by Hingley in the early 1980s resulted in the recovery of further sherds of Early as well as Middle Iron Age date from eroding areas on the eastern side of the hillfort. Hingley concludes that while Bradford's excavations suggest that a multivallate hillfort existed during the Middle Iron Age, the nature of the Early Iron Age occupation remains uncertain. Hingley's plot of cropmarks (12) of a possible IA open settlement to the west (SU 39 NE 50) also depicts pits and some circular and sub-circular features within the interior of the hillfort. (10-13)

Discussion of the current state of the hillfort and the arising conservation issues. (14, 15)

Additional discussion of the hillfort and finds from it.(16-20)

SU 37439627. Cherbury is an Iron Age multivallate defended settlement enclosure, or hillfort, c. 4.6ha in area. It is situated partly in pasture and partly in deciduous woodland. A 1:1000 survey of the site was undertaken by the RCHME in 1992-3. Full details are contained in the archive report. (21)

The following features were mapped from good quality air photographs, supported by evidence from the excavation recorded by authority (2):-

Iron Age hillfort, seen as earthworks. Morphological description: a regular, curvilinear enclosure, 380m by 260m, with 1 straight side, defined by 2 ditches and 3 banks. Centred at:-SU 3742 9620 (Morph No. TG.13.1.1).

Possible Iron Age hut circle, inside the hillfort, seen as a cropmark. Morpological description: a circular enclosure, diameter 14m, defined by 1 ditch. Centred at:-SU 3748 9636 (Morph No. TG.13.1.2).

Possible Iron Age pits, seen as cropmarks. Morphological description: sixteen small (1-4m), round features, in a random pattern. Centred at:-SU 3745 9633 (Morph No. TG.13.1.3).

This description has been generated from the RCHME MORPH2 database. As a result of the NMP all features have been more accurately sited, therefore the old NGR's have been deleted. (22)

Customer comment recieved October 2016: I note that this page is recorded as last being updated in 2002. A geophysics survey was conducted in 2007 and you might like to include this.
http://www.bartington.com/Literaturepdf/Case%20Studies/Grad601%20in%20Archaeology%20-%20Cherbury%20Camp%20-%20Charney%20Bassett.pdf (link last accessed 25/10/2016)(23)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" (Prov) 1960
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 2
Source : Oxoniensia
Source details : JSP Bradford
Page(s) : 13-20, ILL PLAN
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 5, 1940
Source Number : 11
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Oxford Archaeological Unit Newsletter
Page(s) : 1
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 9 (4) August 1982
Source Number : 12
Source : Council for British Archaeology Group 9: South Midlands archaeology newsletter
Source details : R Hingley
Page(s) : 123
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 13, 1983
Source Number : 13
Source : Aspects of the Iron Age in central southern Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 54, 56, 89
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : no.2
Source Number : 14
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : CBA Group 13 Newsletter J Steane and J Bond)
Page(s) : 46
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 7, 1977
Source Number : 15
Source : Archaeology and nature conservation
Source details :
Page(s) : 111-20
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Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : British Hillforts: an index
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 62
Source Number : 17
Source : The Victoria history of Berkshire, volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 261-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 18
Source : Stamp and roulette decorated pottery of the La Tene period in Eastern England : a study in geometric designs
Source details :
Page(s) : 69
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 10
Source Number : 19
Source : Hillforts of the Iron Age in England and Wales : a survey of the surface evidence
Source details :
Page(s) : 322
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 20
Source : The Berkshire archaeological journal
Source details : RA Rutland, JA Greenaway
Page(s) : 130
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 66, 1971-2
Source Number : 3
Source : The Berkshire archaeological journal
Source details : MA Cotton
Page(s) : 37-8, 46-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 60, 1962
Source Number : 21
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Ian S Sainsbury/June 1992-Jan 1993
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Source Number : 22
Source : RCHME/EH/HE Aerial Photographers comment
Source details : Carolyn Dyer/30-OCT-1992/RCHME: Thames Valley NMP
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Source : Cherbury/pencil survey
Source details :
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Source : SU 39 NE 4 (Cherbury Camp) (1964)
Source details :
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Source : Cherbury
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Source : Cherbury/ink survey
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : The Berkshire archaeological journal
Source details : FM Underhill
Page(s) : 22
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 42, 1938
Source Number : 5
Source : The Berkshire archaeological journal
Source details : WA Seaby
Page(s) : 40
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 43, 1939
Source Number : 6
Source : The ancient stone implements, weapons and ornaments of Great Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 111
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Leeds ET. 1949. Anglo Saxon Square Headed Brooches
Page(s) : 49-50, ILL
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 GHP 16-JUN-64
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : The Iron Age in the Upper Thames basin
Source details :
Page(s) : 52, 166-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Oxford Archaeological Unit Newsletter
Page(s) : 1
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 8 (4) July 1981

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Neolithic
Display Date : Neolithic
Monument End Date : -2200
Monument Start Date : -4000
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Bronze Age
Display Date : Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -700
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Multivallate Hillfort, Enclosed Hut Circle Settlement, Pit Cluster
Evidence : Earthwork, Cropmark, Find
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Early Medieval
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 410
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Neolithic
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : AXE, ARROWHEAD
Object Material :
Period : Bronze Age
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : BARBED AND TANGED ARROWHEAD
Object Material :
Period : Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Multivallate Hillfort, Enclosed Hut Circle Settlement, Pit Cluster
Object Type : COIN
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Early Medieval
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : BROOCH
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : OX 238
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Oxfordshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 4943
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : MORPH2
External Cross Reference Number : TG.13.1
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : NMR 15073/12
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 39 NE 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, CHERBURY CAMP
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1939-01-01
End Date : 1939-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SU 39 NE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1964-06-16
End Date : 1964-06-16
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME SURVEY: CHERBURY CAMP
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-22
End Date : 1993-01-22
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT CHERBURY CAMP
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2007-01-01
End Date : 2007-12-31