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Historic England Research Records

Oldbury Camp

Hob Uid: 409479
Location :
Kent
Tonbridge and Malling
Ightham
Grid Ref : TQ5820056200
Summary : Hillfort of probable late Iron Age origin. Excavations have revealed evidence of much activity of that date, with some suggestion of continued activity and possible short-term occupation during the Roman period. Rock shelters on the slope appear to indicate occupation of the site during the Middle Palaeolithic period [see TQ 55 NE 26 and TQ 55 NE 32].
More information : [Centred at TQ 5820 5620] Oldbury Camp [NR] (1)

Oldbury, an Iron Age Hillfort of the early 1st century AD, partly remodelled as a result of the Roman invasion. The site comprises a rampart and ditch which originally ran continuously around about two-thirds of the summit, enclosing an area of about 123 acres. The remaining third was probably no more than a wooden stockade above the formidable cliffs along the eastern side. Trial trenches of five selected sites revealed no traces of settlement within the fort, but continuous settlement in the area from Palaeolithic times onward is indicated by the mid-Palaeolithic rock shelters which have revealed traces of habitation on the eastern slopes [see TQ 55 NE 26 and 32]. Finds included pottery, glass beads, slingstones, querns, a whetstone and coins. [Full excavation report follows.] (2-3)

Oldbury Camp - Iron Age Hillfort, in good condition, as described above. The southern half of the site is wooded and is National Trust property. The northern half is privately owned and is under orchards. A 25" survey has been made. (4)

25" survey of 7.3.61 unchanged. (5)

Further excavations were carried out at Oldbury in 1983-4. It was hoped to relate the excavations to those carried out in 1938 by Ward-Perkins; however, the defence sections of 1983 and 1984 yielded no clear evidence for two periods at Oldbury and the suggestion of Belgic refortification, as had previously been suggested, seems untenable. The hillfort seems to have been rapidly constructed on a massive scale, never occupied in a permanent fashion, and abondoned by circa 50 BC. What later activity there is can probably be related to occupation in the area by a Romanised native population, which regarded the site as a convenient quarry. Evidence was revealed for occupation in the southern half of the hillfort, albeit short-lived, and conceivably related to a construction period. Three radiocarbon dates were provided by the British Museum. Charcoal from a small hearth on the old ground surface beneath the main rampart in the 1983 defence section gave a terminus post quem of 2310 + or - 50 before present (360 BC). Charcoal from a small hearth in the interior of the hillfort near the south end gave a reading of 1840 + or - 40 before present (110 AD). Charcoal from trench 9 of 1983 and trench 3 of 1984 gave a reading of 1910 + or - 80bp (40 AD); if it is contemporary with the adjacent gully which yielded later Iron Age pottery the date is quite acceptable within the standard deviation. (6-10)

Oldbury hillfort, brief description. (11-13)

Oldbury "ancient stonghold of the Britons". (14)

Oldbury Hill, description of camp and surrounding area. (15)

[TQ 582 561] Oldbury Hill and Styants Wood. Acquired by the National Trust in 1945 under the will of Mr H A Hooker. Managed by Kent County Council. Covenants given by Mr Philip Cawne in 1945 over 11.5 acres, covering part of the ramparts of the hill fort, and the site of two rock shelters of the Middle Palaeolithic period. [See TQ 55 NE 26 and 32.] (16)

Later La Tene Cremations. (17)

Summary of the history of the hillfort after first excavations. (18)

Topographical description of Oldbury Camp. (19)

[TQ 582 566] Ightham, Oldbury. Two pedestal urns, each containing calcined bone, which were buried in the outer defences of the hillfort, close to the north-east gate, after their completion circa 43 AD. (20)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1936
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 2
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details :
Page(s) : 127-176
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 90
Source Number : 11
Source : British Archaeological Reports: British series
Source details : Supplementary Series II Oppida The Beginnings of Urbanisation in Barbarian Europe 1976 (B Cunliffe and T Rowley)
Page(s) : 332
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : South east England
Source details :
Page(s) : 152
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : no.69
Source Number : 13
Source : British Archaeological Reports: British series
Source details :
Page(s) : 226
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 52
Source Number : 14
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details :
Page(s) : 53
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 9
Source Number : 15
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details :
Page(s) : 142-161
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 45
Source Number : 16
Source : Prehistoric properties of the National Trust
Source details :
Page(s) : 102
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 17
Source : Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 23-Jun
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 20
Source Number : 18
Source : Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 320
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 4
Source Number : 19
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Kent, volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 395-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 20
Source : British Archaeological Reports: British series
Source details : Burial Practices in Iron Age Britain (R Whimster)
Page(s) : 382
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 90
Source Number : 3
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : 1939, maps plans photos illus (J B Ward Perkins)
Page(s) : 137-81
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 51
Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ASP 07-MAR-61
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 ASP 05-AUG-64
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details : 1984 (F H Thompson)
Page(s) : 140-4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 76
Source Number : 7
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details :
Page(s) : 239-41
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 80
Source Number : 8
Source : Kent Archaeological Society newsletter
Source details : 1984
Page(s) : 01-Aug
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 5
Source Number : 9
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details :
Page(s) : 287-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 99
Source Number : 10
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details :
Page(s) : 381-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 101

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Palaeolithic
Display Date : Palaeolithic
Monument End Date : -10000
Monument Start Date : -500000
Monument Type : Rock Shelter
Evidence : Natural Feature
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Hillfort, Cremation
Evidence : Earthwork, Find, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence :

Components and Objects:
Period : Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Hillfort, Cremation
Object Type : SLING SHOT, COIN, VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : KE 11
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 23018
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 55 NE 21
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 409550
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 409496
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, OLDBURY CAMP
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1938-01-01
End Date : 1938-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 55 NE 21
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1961-03-07
End Date : 1961-03-07
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 55 NE 21
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1964-08-05
End Date : 1964-08-05
Associated Activities : Primary, OLDBURY CAMP
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1983-01-01
End Date : 1984-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, OLBURY CAMP
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1983-01-01
End Date : 1983-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, OLDBURY CAMP
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1992-01-01
End Date : 1992-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, OLDBURY HILLFORT
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2003-01-01
End Date : 2003-12-31