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Historic England Research Records

Black Ball Camp

Hob Uid: 36857
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Dunster
Grid Ref : SS9842042650
Summary : An Iron Age univallate hill-slope enclosure visible as an earthwork on Gallax Hill in Dunster Park. Field investigations by RCHME field staff in 1998 found the enclosure to measure 100 metres west-east by 80 metres north-south, defined by a prominent bank 2.4 metres high with an external ditch 1.6 metres deep and a slight external counterscarp bank on the south, west and north. An entrance on the south-western side was defined by slight inturns on the rampart terminals and by a causeway 6.7 metres wide. The causeway was very disturbed and had a hollow 6.5 metres long and 0.5 metres deep dug into it. On the northern side of the entrance, within the enclosure was a circular spread of stone, 8.7 metres across, which had the appearance of a platform, but was more likely to be a stone dump. On the southern side of the entrance was a platform 5 metres wide defined by a tussocky bank 0.3 metre high and 1.4 metres wide; this may be a hut stance.
More information : [SS 98434265] Camp (NR) (1)

Circular camp, about 120 yards in diameter, situated about 0.75 mile S.S.W of Dunster. It is surrounded by a bank of stones and earth, with an outer ditch, and also, for about a third of the curcumference on the W. side, a low bank on the counterscarp of the ditch. The entrance is on the S.W. and on the left hand the bank turns inwards and there are indications of the foundations of a circular breastwork or tower. [Listed under 'Simple Enclosed Camps'] (2)
Scheduled. (3) (see illustration card)

Black Ball Camp - univallate Hillfort (under 3 acres) (4) (2 3 4 5)

This is a moderately strong Iron Age earthwork situated on a western slope. It is univallate, with a counterscarp bank which is strongest on the down-hill side and continuous except for some 50m on the north east.

There has been modern disturbance of the western side of the inturned entrance and no original circular structure, as described by Bothamley,can be identified. Re-surveyed at 1:2500.(6)

SS 984426. Black Ball or British Camp.

Iron Age univallate hill-slope enclosure visible on AP (a) which shows ancient ploughing in the interior of the site (7). Forde-Johnson considers the site to be a satellite of Bat's Castle (SS 94 SE 17) (7 -8)

(SS 98434265) Settlement (NR) (9)

Additional bibliography. (10-14)

Black Ball Camp is an oval univallate enclosure occupying a hillslope position overlooking the valley of the River Avill, at its junction with an un-named valley running north-south.
The enclosure measures 100 m west-east by 80 m north-south and is defined by a prominent bank some 2.4 m high with external ditch 1.6 m deep and slight external counterscarp bank (on the south, west and north). It is covered in dense bilberry and heather, with some holly and hawthorn trees obscuring the ramparts. The interior is obscured by large numbers of ant hills.
On the south-western side there is a single entrance defined by slight inturns on the rampart terminals and by a causeway 6.7 m wide. The causeway is very disturbed and has a hollow 6.5 m long and 0.5 m deep dug into it. On the northern side of the entrance, (within the enclosure) is a circular spread of stone 8.7 m across which has the superficial appearance of a platform, but is more likely to be a stone dump. On the southern side of the entrance is a platform 5 m across defined by a tussocky bank 0.3 m high and 1.4 m wide; this may be a hut stance. (15-16)

The hillslope enclosure described above is clearly visible on aerial photographs, both vertical and oblique, examined as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme (17-18).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1962
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history Somerset, volume two
Source details : (C H Bothamley)
Page(s) : 508
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Source Number : 11
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Allcroft A H. 1908. Earthwork of England, 137
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Source Number : 12
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Burrow E J. 1924. Ancient Earthworks and Camps of Somerset, 106-7
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Source Number : 13
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Somerset Parish Survey 3: Carhampton 1980 15 No D4 (J Dixon)
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Source Number : 14
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Page J L W. 1890. Exploration of Exmoor
Page(s) : 202
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Source Number : 15
Source : The archaeology of Exmoor : Bideford Bay to Bridgwater
Source details :
Page(s) : 87, 201
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Source Number : 16
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : R Wilson-North 7 April 1998 RCHME Field Investigation
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Source Number : 17
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF CPE/UK/1980 4217-19 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 18
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SS 9842/50 (NMR 15864/30) 20-JAN-1998
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : List Anc Mon England & Wales 1961 82 (M O W)
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Source Number : 4
Source : Ordnance Survey map of southern Britain in the Iron Age
Source details : 45
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Source Number : 5
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : St Joseph -CG/069
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 GHP 16-JUN-65
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Source Number : 7
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : (NMR no SS 9842/2 - West Air Photography 29 5 74)
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Source Number : 8
Source : Hillfort and hill-top settlement in Somerset in the first to eighth centuries A.D.
Source details :
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Vol(s) : 91, 1981
Source Number : 9
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : (J Forde-Johnson)
Page(s) : 82, 86-7
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Vol(s) : 119, 1962
Source Number : 10
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:10000 1974
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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
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 33565
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 24003
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO9410
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 94 SE 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1218790
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 94 SE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1965-06-16
End Date : 1965-06-16
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01