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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 36096

Hob Uid: 36096
Location :
Somerset
West Somerset
Luccombe
Grid Ref : SS8893042380
Summary : Two sub circular enclosures of probable Iron Age date survive as fairly substantial earthworks on unenclosed moorland on the north facing slopes of Dunkery Hill, close to the hillslope enclosure of Sweetworthy. The western most enclosure is in relatively poor condition while the eastern enclosure is in fair condition. Both are half of the size of the Sweetworthy enclosure and although there is little evidence of occupation all three contemporary monuments so close together would indicate a hillslope settlement. It has also been noted that very nearby is a possible unenclosed hut circle which would further lend the area to an interpretation of settlement.
More information : (SS 88904243 and SS 88984244) Two probable prehistoric ringworks similar to the one at Sweetworthy (SS 84 SE 12 - Iron Age hill-slope enclosure) are visible on air photograph. (1, 2)

Two sub-circular enclosures, 80 metres apart, are situated at 360 metres O.D. on a narrow shelf of a north slope of about 1 in 5. Both are heather and bracken covered and recently fenced round by The National Trust.

The western enclosure, at SS 8887 4236, has an internal diameter of 35 metres, but is in poor condition, and untraceable around the north east quadrant. Part of the east and north-west sides consist of an outward facing scarp 2.5 metres long and 0.4 metres high but from the south east to the west there is a distinct bank with a flat top 2 metres wide. The inner face, which has been partly scarped to level the southern half of the interior, has slopes 6 metres long and 1.1 metres high. The outer face of the bank is from 1 to 3 metres wide and 0.5 metres high. There are no traces of an outer ditch which might be expected on the upper south side, if only to deflect surface run-off. No entrance gap can be seen unless a faint butt end of bank on the west is indicative of its former position. In the south west quadrant of the interior an ill defined semi-circular scoop, 6 metres across and 0.2 metres deep, may represent a house platform.
Although the construction of the work seems mostly of earth with some rubble; an alignment of four blocks of stone exposed in the surface of a former trackway, where it crosses the bank in the south west, suggests there was at least an inner revetment.

The eastern enclosure, at SS 8899 4241, has an internal diameter of 37 metres and is in fair condition. The lower north east quadrant of the perimeter consists of a scarp, 3 metres long and 0.5 metres high, which merges into the hillslope. Elsewhere there is bank between 5 and 8 metres wide overall and about 0.4 metres high save on the south where the inner face is 0.9 metres high. Here, as with the western earthwork there seems to have been some scarping of the hillslope to create a partly levelled interior. In the north west there is a possible simple entrance, 2 metres wide, flanked by low stub ends of bank. There are no traces of any outer ditch to the enclosure. Close to the bank within the western part there is a depression 15 metres overall with a level interior 10 metres across. It is 0.3 metres deep with faint traces of banking on the eastern side. There is a 4 metre gap in the north-west (in the direction of the entrance) and the feature appears to be a house site. Both sites are only half the size of the nearby Bagley and Sweetworthy settlements (SS 84 SE 12 and 30) but otherwise similar, except for the apparent lack of outer ditches. Whether or not they are contemporaneous both fall within the category of Iron Age or Iron Age/Romano-British hillslope settlements. To have three within 300 metres and a fourth 600 metres away creates a unique grouping between 330 metre to 350 metre contours in a sheltered area cut by small combes which extend northwards to the East Water valley. (3)

The enclosures were located to the National Grid using GPS as part of the RCHME Exmoor project. The sites are discussed in their archaeological landscape context in the survey report (4).


Two sub-circular enclosures of probable late prehistoric date are visible on aerial photographs surviving as fairly substantial earthworks on unenclosed moorland on the north facing slopes of Dunkery Hill, close to the hillslope enclosure of Sweetworthy.

The assumed centre point of the easternmost of the two enclosures is given by the above authority. However, as also stated above the north east quadrant is not visible. The south-western quadrant is visible for almost 70 metres of its circumference, and is centred on circa SS 88864234. This section appears to define a slightly ovoid enclosure with the longer axis running downslope. The internal diameter of 35 metres quoted above may be slightly low, the visible fragment having a possible minimum diameter of over 40 metres.

Although more is visible of the the second enclosure earthworks, it is also incomplete, visible on the aerial photographs as two lengths of curved bank at SS 88994238 and SS 89004242, 58 and 36 metres in length respectively. It appears to be notably more ovoid in shape than the eastern enclosure, the long axis of the site following the contour of the combe roughly east to west.

The internal areas of the two enclosures do appear slightly irregular in appearance but it is not possible to define discrete hut circles. However, a possible third smaller enclosure, perhaps an unenclosed hut circle, can be seen to the south-west of the eastern enclosure at SS 88974237. (5-7)

Additional reference. (8)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : (West AP No 27534)
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Source Number : 2
Source : Somerset archaeology and natural history : the proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 83,94
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Vol(s) : 127, 1983
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 NVQ 06-AUG-87
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Source Number : 4
Source : The prehistoric enclosures and medieval and post-medieval settlements at Bagley and Sweetworthy, Luccombe, Somerset : an archaeological survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England
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Source Number : 5
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SS 8842/6 (DAP LD/33) 10-JAN-1989
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Source Number : 6
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SS 8842/18 (15856/01) 20-JAN-1998
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Source Number : 7
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/73109 955-6 29-APR-1973
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Source Number : 8
Source : England's Landscape: The South West
Source details :
Page(s) : 57
Figs. : 3.14
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Source : Bagley and Sweetworthy
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Source : Sweetworthy/ink survey
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Enclosed Settlement, Hut Circle, Unenclosed Settlement
Evidence : Earthwork, Conjectural Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 33710
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 33712
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 24029
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 24030
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO7356
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 84 SE 49
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 35980
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 36099
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 84 SE 48
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1987-08-03
End Date : 1987-08-03
Associated Activities : ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01