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Historic England Research Records

Mount Caburn Camp

Hob Uid: 405932
Location :
East Sussex
Lewes
Glynde
Grid Ref : TQ4443008910
Summary : The earthworks and interior of a small multivallate hillfort situated on The Caburn. Part excavation in 1937-8 revealed the hilltop to have undergone a complex history of development from the Iron Age to the medieval period. Initially, to 100 BC, the settlement comprised an Iron Age open village, followed by a more complex fortified proto- "town" settlement from about 100 BC to the Roman conquest. There was evidence of further fortification at the time of the Roman conquest. Later phases of use included local reconstruction at an unknown date (probably Saxon) and a mid-12thc phase of refortification as an Adulterine castle.This monumnet was mapped from aerial photographs as part of the English Heritage: South Downs Project.
More information : (TQ 444 089) Mount Caburn Camp (NR) (1)

Known locally as 'The Caburn'. The appellation 'Mount Caburn' is probably of no great antiquity. The earthwork was first excavated by Pitt-Rivers in 1877-8, who cut sections through the rampart and investigated 40 of the small depressions and the large pit within the camp. The material obtained, of the EIA, has been lost. In 1925-6 it was surveyed by R P R Williamson; three trial trenches were dug and the remaining 99 untouched depressions were excavated. The pits served probably for stores and refuse, and finds included British and Roman coins, iron slag and crucibles, spindle-whorls, beads, slingstones and pottery, mainly La Tene II. The pits were from Hallstatt to RB with the densest period of occupation La Tene II (250-50 BC).

In 1937-8 the Brighton and Hove Arch Soc excavated the ramparts and gateway (see plan) and through the southern defences. Two hut sites and a 'Norman hearth' were uncovered near the gateway. General conclusions regarding phases of occupation are as follows :

1. An open village before 100 BC.
2. Fortified 'town' 100 BC to Roman times.
3. Fortification at the time of the Roman conquest.
4. Local reconstruction at an unknown date (probably Saxon).
5. Mid-12thc refortification as an Adulterine castle.

The 'several' IA, tin coins (5) found in Pitt-Rivers' excavations were Evans type H:2 and H:5. A further six of similar type were found during the 1925 excavations, (2) 5 in pits and one on the surface of the N rampart. These finds are listed by Dolley under the British distribution of Speculum coins (Class 1). (2-7)

(See annotated 25" cut-out plan and cross-section). (8)

Mount Caburn Hill Fort (LB) (9)

Mount Caburn, IA fort, sub-circular in plan, averaging 130.0m in diameter. To the SE, E and W, very steep natural slopes fall away to the valley of the River Ouse and to side coombes, and the earthwork comprises a long steep lynchet-like scarp with a narrow terrace at the foot, probably a silted-up ditch and low outer bank. To the N, the work overlooks a ridge and the defences are increased and comprise a very large rampart with equally large outer ditch which as a counterscarp bank, and a lesser inner ditch with counterscarp bank.

An original entrance leads around the E end of the multiple defences and is causewayed across the inner ditch. A second causewayed entrance through the NW side is probably not an original feature. Several pits within the eastern end of the outer ditch are probably late mutilations (? flint pits).

Published 1:2500 survey revised.
Representative collection of finds on display in Barbican House Museum, Lewes. (10)

One complete pot (restored) and 7 decorated sherds were discovered. They are deposited in the Barbican House Museum, Lewes and the museum at Farnham in Dorset (?). (11)

A deposit of calcined boned was found with two pottery vessels beneath the primary rampart, but on top of an earlier counterscarp bank. It was sealed by a turf-line from the rampart above. (12)

The site is scheduled. (13)

Of the EIA (Early Iron Age) material noted above in sources 2-7 as being lost, the majority is actually in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. A full list of the Caburn objects in the Museum can be found at . (14)

This earthwork described by the previous authotrities was mapped from aerial photographs as part of the English Heritage: South Downs Project.(15)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 6" 1911
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Plates :
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Source Number : 2
Source : Sussex archaeological collections : relating to the history and antiquities of the counties of East and West Sussex
Source details :
Page(s) : Jan-58
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 68, 1927
Source Number : 11
Source : British Archaeological Report (BAR) British series
Source details : S M Elsdon
Page(s) : 68
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 10, 1975
Source Number : 12
Source : British Archaeological Report (BAR) British series
Source details : R Whimster
Page(s) : 397
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 90 (II) 1981
Source Number : 13
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : English Heritage Schedule Entry 10/04/1996
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Source Number : 14
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Pitt Rivers Museum. 2009. "Pitt Rivers Museum: The Other Within, Artefacts from Mount Caburn in the Pitt Rivers Museum" <> [Accessed 25/06/2009]
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Source Number : 15
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : MAL/60448 853834 22-NOV-1960
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Sussex archaeological collections : relating to the history and antiquities of the counties of East and West Sussex
Source details :
Page(s) : 152-5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 72, 1931
Source Number : 4
Source : Sussex archaeological collections : relating to the history and antiquities of the counties of East and West Sussex
Source details :
Page(s) : 193-216
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 80, 1939
Source Number : 5
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details :
Page(s) : 423-95
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 46, 1881
Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Evans J 1890: Coins of the Ancient Britons p 485
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Source Number : 7
Source : Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Source details : R H M Dolley
Page(s) : 85
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 20, 1955
Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : First OS Archaeology Field Investigator 16/01/1953
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 9
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 6" 1963
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 10
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Second OS Archaeology Field Investigator 19/05/1972
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : from c100 BC
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -100
Monument Type : Univallate Hillfort
Evidence : Earthwork, Find
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : 700-100 BC
Monument End Date : -100
Monument Start Date : -700
Monument Type : Unenclosed Settlement, Building, Cinerary Urn, Cremation, Iron Working Site, Farm, Rubbish Pit, Grain Storage Pit
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Find, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Enclosure
Evidence : Earthwork, Find
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Possibly Saxon use
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 410
Monument Type : Hillfort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Mid C12
Monument End Date : 1166
Monument Start Date : 1133
Monument Type : Adulterine Castle
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Period : Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Univallate Hillfort
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Unenclosed Settlement, Building, Cinerary Urn, Cremation, Iron Working Site, Farm, Rubbish Pit, Grain Storage Pit
Object Type : SLAG, SPINDLE WHORL, LOOMWEIGHT, QUERN, VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Enclosure
Object Type : COIN
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : SX 58
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Superfile number
External Cross Reference Number : 6029
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Superfile number
External Cross Reference Number : 112
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (East Sussex)
External Cross Reference Number : 58
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ES 58
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 27029
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (East Sussex)
External Cross Reference Number : MES1456
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 40 NW 29
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, MOUNT CABURN
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1870-01-01
End Date : 1880-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, MOUNT CABURN
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1925-01-01
End Date : 1926-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, MOUNT CABURN
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1937-01-01
End Date : 1938-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 40 NW 29
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1953-01-16
End Date : 1953-01-16
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 40 NW 29
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1972-05-19
End Date : 1972-05-19
Associated Activities : Primary, MOUNT CABURN
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, MOUNT CABURN
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1998-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: SOUTH DOWNS PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2011-12-31