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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 362165

Hob Uid: 362165
Location :
Hertfordshire
St. Albans
Wheathampstead
Grid Ref : TL1850013200
Summary : A Possible Belgic oppidum at Wheathampstead, dating to the 1st century BC.
More information : (TL 185132) Belgic Settlement (NR). (1)

A Belgic settlement or "oppidum" is bounded on the west by
Devil's Dyke and on the east by The Slad. The earthworks appears
to have been continuous on the south, marked by a farm lane, but
whether there was a ditch on the north is not clear.

A section was cut through Devil's Dyke (which measures 130ft wide and 40ft deep), in 1932, and within the enclosure two shallow drainage ditches were identified which yielded miscellaneous finds and pottery dated to the C1st BC. A hearth and a fragment of wheel-turned Belgic pottery was found under primary silt in the ditch thus indicating that the Dyke and Settlement were contemporary.
Because of the lack of certain types of pottery the settlement must have lost its importance by the end of the C1st BC. (2)

Published 1/2500 survey revised. (3)

An extensive settlement area bounded on the east and west by
two major linear earthworks the depth of which attains a
maximum of some 18.0m. Topographically the situation lies on a
local prominence with full all round visibility about 115.0m
above sea level - it is well drained. No archaeological finds
were made during investigation but the area is mainly under
summer crop and only partial perambulation was possible. The
names "Devil's Dyke" and "The Slad(e)" are both in modern local
usage and are probably medieval in origin. The name of the
oppidum has not been determined.

Published survey (1:2500 correct). (4)

Dyer (6) maintains that this site is not an oppidum on the grounds that only the Devil's Dyke is a man-made feature and that "The Slad earthwork is a natural feature of no great strength and the 90 to 100 acre enclosure ... does not exist".
Cunliffe (5) refutes this, and lists the site as an oppidum. He
suggests that the relationship of Dyke Lane, field boundaries and the parish boundary suggest a southward continuation of the Devil's Dyke earthwork, possibly linking with Beech Bottom Dyke (Lin9).
Wacher (7) implies that this is the site of Caesar's defeat of the Catuvellauni in 54 BC.

Reappraisal of Wheeler's excavation (8) but no additional
information. (5-8)

TL 185130. Earthwork (including Devil's Dyke and the Slod (sic)) - scheduled. Listed under Camps and Settlements. (9)

Excavation of trial trenches to the North,(TL 11 SE 15), suggests that there was no Northward extension of the surviving earthworks. No traces of occupation betwen the Devil's Dyke and the Slad is known apart from Wheeler's excavation. In the C1st AD, the major settlement seems to have been North of the R. Lea, (TL 11 SE 27). (10)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : OS 6 1960
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : "Verulamium" 1936 (REM and TV Wheeler)
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Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 CFW 19-DEC-1969
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 FDC 19-JUN-75
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : BAR S11 Oppida (Ed B Cunliffe) 1976 335-6
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Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Hillforts (Ed D W Harding) 1976 158 (J Dyer)
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Roman Britain 1978 22 24 (J Wacher)
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Source Number : 8
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Inst of Archaeol Bull 16 1979 159-85 (I Thompson)
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Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : DOE (IAM) List Anc Mons 3 1978 51
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Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Hertfordshire Archaeol 8 1980-2 30-2. (Saunders C)
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 1
Monument Start Date : 100
Monument Type : Oppidum
Evidence : Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : HT 24
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TL 11 SE 6
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, WHEATHAMPSTEAD (DEVIL'S DYKE)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1932-01-01
End Date : 1932-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TL 11 SE 6
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1969-12-19
End Date : 1969-12-19
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TL 11 SE 6
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1975-06-19
End Date : 1975-06-19
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND EAST OF WHEATHAMPSTEAD
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2002-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, DEVIL'S DYKE, DYKE LANE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31