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HER Number:MDV8653
Name:Milber Down Southern Camp

Summary

Milber Down Romano-British farmstead to the south-east of Milber Down hillfort. Earthwork ditches of the farmstead are visible on aerial photographs taken in 1946, although the area has been partly levelled by 1978 following construction of an abattoir and reservoir.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 886 696
Map Sheet:SX86NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishCoffinswell
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishCOFFINSWELL
Ecclesiastical ParishCOMBEINTEIGNHEAD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Milber Down Hillfort and Milber Little Camp. Iron Age multivallate hillfort, Romano-British bivallate defended farmstead, sub-rectangular enclosure and linears north west of Little Haccombe Farm
  • Scheduled Monument 1003178: Milber Down camp

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 446192
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX86NE/2
  • Old SAM County Ref: 115
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX86NE26

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • RECTILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Roman to VII - 43 AD to 700 AD (Between))

Full description

Office of Works, Milber Down Camp, Coffinswell, Monument 115 (Schedule Document). SDV343536.

Contained within the scheduled area.


Unknown, 08/08/1980, Experts Stand By as Iron Age Drainage 'Dig' Goes Ahead (Article in Serial). SDV350224.

Archaeological monitoring of drainage works at Milber Abattoir. No finds recorded.


Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Camp recorded on 1880s-1890s 25 inch Ordnance Survey map.


Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

Roman Camp recorded on early 20th century map as a rectilinear enclosure to the south-east of Milber Camp.


Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 594 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.


Unknown, 1938, 10th Report of the Annual General Meeting (Article in Serial). SDV343559.

Identified as a native farmstead occupied after the defences of the adjacent camp had fallen into disuse.


Rose-Troup, F., 1938 - 1939, Wealcynne: The Land of the Britons, 14 (Article in Serial). SDV346739.

Milber Down may have fallen within a royal estate called Milborne named in King Alfred's will


Morris, P., 1939, 10th Report of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society, 193-4 (Article in Serial). SDV23605.


Anon, 1939, Untitled Source, 218 (Article in Serial). SDV23609.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223, RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223 Vp1 5010-11 12-JUL-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352279.

Earthwork ditches are visible.


Fox, A. + Raleigh Radford, C. A. + Rogers, E. H. + Shorter, A. H., 1949 - 1950, Report on the Excavations at Milber Down, 1937-8, 27-65 (Article in Serial). SDV343537.

Milber Down Camp Romano-British farmstead. Rampart and ditches almost entirely ploughed out in 1938. A small rectangular earthwork heavily ploughed down, adjoining the main fort to the north; associated with the remains of small embanked fields or other enclosures, entered by gaps cut through the outermost bank of the main fort. Partial excavation in 1938. A section across the defences revealed a quantity of stones in the steep V-shaped ditch, suggesting the bank had an outer stone revetment, the entrance was located on south-east which was 0.4 metreswide. Post holes and gullies in the interior were indicative of various timber structures; an earlier occupation phase was represented by one gully cut by the ditch. Pottery was mainly native wares of AD 50-80, with one Samian fragment, and scraps of Roman provincial wares of the same period. Two sherds belonged to the same type as found in the adjacent hillfort. A few sherds of pot in the upper filling of the ditch, and a third century coin indicate use of the camp after the decay of the defences.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1952, SX86NE26 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV346737.

Ploughed out, except for baulk 2 metres wide by 0.4 metres long on the west side. No surface finds made. Area under grass.


Vachell, E. T., 1964, Milber Down, 27-30, Figs. 1-2 (Article in Serial). SDV346738.

Further excavations in 1963 in advance of the extension of the reservoir located the ditch and a causewayed entrance at 'Milber Small Camp'.


Timms, S. C., 1976, The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft, 138-9 (Report - Survey). SDV341346.


Ordnance Survey, 1978, OS/78037, OS/78037 V 131-32 10-MAY-1978 (Aerial Photograph). SDV362842.

An abattoir and reservoir have been partly constructed over the camp.


Bidwell, P. T., 1985, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV346740.

This could be a Roman military site, a short lived fortlet, on the basis of re-examination of the finds.


Watts, M. A., 1993, An Evaluation of the Archaeological Resource at Milber Abattoir, Milber Down (Report - Evaluation). SDV346744.

Three evaluation trenches excavated in the Summer of 1993, one a re-excavation of Fox's Trench IX. Results indicate the following phases:-
A: pre-enclosure gullies.
B: a possible ploughsoil layer containing Iron Age pottery.
C: two ramparts and ditches of the enclosure, which cut through the possible ploughsoil layer.
D: primary ditch silts containing waterlogged plant remains.
E: upper ditch fills containing Roman pottery and some micaceous (?) Iron Age pottery.


Watts, M. A., 1993, Archaeological Assessment of a Proposed Extension to Milber Abattoir, Milber Down (Report - Assessment). SDV346741.

Little Milber Camp. Recent observations suggest a bivallate earthwork circa 85 metres by 130 metres. Interior, circa 35 metres by 55 metres, thought to have been enclosed by two concentric earthen ramparts each with external ditch. Newton Abbot to St Marychurch road cuts through the north-eastern defences, and Milber Abbatoir overlies much of the interior and the south-west defences. Reservoir destroyed a stretch of the south-eastern defences, including entrance to enclosure.


Department of National Heritage, 1994, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV346742.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for excavation of three trial pits.


Department of National Heritage, 1994, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV346743.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for extensions to buildings, together with additional hardstanding, permanent fencing and drainage.


Quinnell, H., 1998, Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey (Report - Survey). SDV336212.

Circa 50 sherds of Late Iron Age pot were recovered during excavation. Roman pottery was also recovered.


Farnell, A., 2009, Archaeological Trench Evaluation at Milber Abattoir, Old Torquay Road, Milber, Newton Abbot, Devon, 2-4; figure 2-4 (Report - Evaluation). SDV349872.

An archaeological trench evaluation was undertaken within the boundary of the Milber Down Hillfort Scheduled Monument, in the area of the smaller earthwork known as Milber Little Camp. Of the eight trenches excavated, archaeological features were only identified in trenches 1 and 4, which exposed sections of the inner ditch of Milber Little Camp.


National Buildings Record, 2011, 446192 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV346746.

Iron Age farmstead.


Ellis, C, 2015, Former Milber Down Abattoir, Newton Abbot: Evaluation and Watching Brief (Report - Evaluation). SDV360332.

An archaeological evaluation and a watching brief of associated geotechnical investigations was undertaken in October and November 2014, at the Milber Down Abattoir site, Newton Abbot, Devon.

A number of trenches were opened up but for the purpose of this monument the focus is on Trench 7, which recorded features associated with the Romano-British framstead and the Iron Age Hillfort (see MDV8649).

Trench 7
This trench was targeted on both the Milber Down hillfort and the (Roman) Small Camp ditches. These were known from earlier investigations (Fox et. al.1949/50; EMAFU 1993, 2009), mapping evidence (Ecus 2014a) and the geophysical survey (Stratascan 2014), to cut across the site on a north-east/south-west alignment. Archaeological features and deposits were recorded at a depth of only 0.25 metres. Truncated Roman urned cremation burial vessel, of 1st century AD date, was recorded at the east end of the trench at the very base of the ploughsoil (see MDV120039). 1st century BC to mid to late 1st century AD pottery and a 20th-century copper alloy coin were recovered from the topsoil 700. Modern ditches, a probable modern posthole, and a small pit were also recorded from this trench.

The trench was parallel to, and 17m to the south-west of, Exeter Archaeology’s 1993 evaluation Trench 3 (EMAFU 1993) and the 2009 Trench 6 (EA 2009). Trench 7 contained both the hillfort ditch and Roman Small Camp ditch. These were clearly visible because of the relatively dark and thick tertiary fills infilling the final upper parts of the cuts of both ditches. Both ditches cut 0.19m thick deposit , a light yellowish-brown clayey silt. This was consistent with a layer containing micaceous pottery of later Iron Age date recorded in Trench 3 of 1993 (EMAFU 1993, 4). No pottery was recorded from this deposit in the present fieldwork.

Both ditches 708 and 711 were extensively bulk sampled and monolith sampled throughout their fill sequences. Unfortunately, the modern foul sewer trench 741 cut the hillfort ditch 711 at this point in the west of the trench. Following approval from English Heritage and DCCHET, hillfort ditch 711 was not fully excavated, and hand excavation was discontinued at the base of the foul sewer pipe (at 1.4m depth). Previously, this ditch had been recorded as having a maximum depth of 2.56m (EMAFU 1993, 3).

The Roman Small Camp ditch 708 (and its three re-cuts 760, 762 and 759) were parallel to, and 17m to the south-east of, the hillfort ditch in Trench 7. The Small Camp ditch was 4.9m wide and approximately 3.7m deep, with very steep sides and a narrow ‘ankle breaker’ slot (0.3m wide and deep) at the base.

The fill sequence comprised a number of primary, secondary and tertiary fills, with secondary fills and dump deposits clearly visible against the south-east side of the ditch, including a relatively charcoal-rich dump (726). Secondary fills 754 and 763, of the Small Camp ditch re-cut 762, contained a small assemblage of mid to late 1st century AD pottery, including sherds of a single vessel (RA 2) from context 763. A particular stratigraphic event of note from the Small Camp ditch section was a layer of large, sub-angular, natural stone boulders (<0.5m) in the base of the latest ditch re-cut 759. This deposit is consistent with the ‘redeposited rampart’ deposit noted in the 1993 evaluation (EMAFU 1993, fig.5). The large boulders would suggest originally a stone facing or revetting to the outer face of the Roman Small Camp rampart base, to stabilise the rampart base and reduce collapses. Therefore, its deposition into the ditch suggests natural collapse of the rampart, or the rampart had been deliberately slighted. However, the occurrence of a number of blocks of ‘lightly cemented chalky sandstone…together with lumps of Greensand chert’ was noted during the 1963 excavations of the ditch to the east of the site in the area of the water reservoir. The blocks were reported as appearing to be concentrated at the junction between the ditch fill and the natural, whilst those on the western side ‘appeared…to have been intelligently laid as a lining to the ditch’ (Vachell 1964, 29).

At the very east end of the trench, a very truncated, urned cremation burial vessel was recorded at the very base of the ploughsoil (see MDV120039).

Earlier investigations of the interior of the Roman Small Camp have shown that archaeological features survive at depths of 0.14–>1.0m (generally 0.4–0.8m) depending on whether the intervention was located in an area of modern disturbance and/or modern structures. However, even on the abattoir site, between extant structures, archaeological features and natural geology has been recorded at only 0.2m depth (EA 2009, 2). The current topography within the abattoir building complex clearly shows that terracing and ground disturbance associated with the abattoir construction and use has undoubtedly occurred. However, the earlier archaeological investigations indicate that there is the potential for in-situ archaeological features and deposits to be present in this particular area, as well as
on the green space parts of the site.

Ditch fill 754, a secondary fill of the Roman Small Camp ditch re-cut 762 (Fig. 9), produced a total of 11 joining sherds in a wheelthrown fine, black-firing sandy fabric. The form represented appears to be a shouldered bowl with short, evertedrim and a prominent cordon at the shoulder. Three joining rimsherds in a similar fabric and from a vessel also with short, everted rim, were recorded from secondary ditch fill 763, also from ditch 762. A further 76 sherds of pottery were recorded from this deposit, representing a single vessel, Registered Artefact (RA) 2. This vessel, occurs in a (wheelthrown) coarser and micaceous, reduced quartz-tempered fabric. The vessel represented is an ovoid-profiled jar with simple, everted rim. It exhibits evidence for use in the form of light external sooting and internal carbonised (burnt food) residue. The pottery from secondary ditch fills 754 and 763 probably dates from the Late Iron Age to Early Roman period (c. 1st centuries BC/AD). The shouldered bowl shares characteristics of form with Cordoned wares common to this period in the south-west.

A total of 26 sherds in micaceous, reduced-firing fabrics, recovered from topsoil 700 and cremation burial 704 are likely to be related to South Devon (Micaceous) Reduced ware which was manufactured throughout the Roman period (Holbrook and Bidwell 1991, 178). The 24 sherds from deposit 704 represent the lower portion of an undecorated vessel (RA 1) containing a cremation burial (see MDV120039). The two sherds from the topsoil appear to be part of the same vessel.


Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2018-2019, The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 1, Haldon Ridge to Dart Valley (Interpretation). SDV361305.

Earthwork ditches which form the east, south and west sides of a Romano-British rectilinear enclosure, measuring circa 73m long by 55m wide and truncated to the north by a road, are visible on aerial photographs taken in 1946. They broadly correspond with earthworks labelled as ‘Camp’ on the Ordnance Survey First Edition map of the late 19th century, although the area has been partly levelled by 1978 following construction of an abattoir and reservoir.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV23605Article in Serial: Morris, P.. 1939. 10th Report of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 71. A5 Hardback. 193-4.
SDV23609Article in Serial: Anon. 1939. Journal of the Roman Society. 29. Unknown. 218.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #108730 ]
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336212Report - Survey: Quinnell, H.. 1998. Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey. Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV341346Report - Survey: Timms, S. C.. 1976. The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital. 138-9.
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 594.
SDV343536Schedule Document: Office of Works. Milber Down Camp, Coffinswell. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap. Monument 115.
SDV343537Article in Serial: Fox, A. + Raleigh Radford, C. A. + Rogers, E. H. + Shorter, A. H.. 1949 - 1950. Report on the Excavations at Milber Down, 1937-8. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. IV Parts 2 and 3. Paperback Volume. 27-65.
SDV343559Article in Serial: Unknown. 1938. 10th Report of the Annual General Meeting. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. III part 2. Paperback Volume.
SDV346737Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1952. SX86NE26. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV346738Article in Serial: Vachell, E. T.. 1964. Milber Down. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. 22. Paperback Volume. 27-30, Figs. 1-2.
SDV346739Article in Serial: Rose-Troup, F.. 1938 - 1939. Wealcynne: The Land of the Britons. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 20. Unknown. 14.
SDV346740Personal Comment: Bidwell, P. T.. 1985.
SDV346741Report - Assessment: Watts, M. A.. 1993. Archaeological Assessment of a Proposed Extension to Milber Abattoir, Milber Down. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 93.41. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV346742Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1994. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV346743Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1994. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV346744Report - Evaluation: Watts, M. A.. 1993. An Evaluation of the Archaeological Resource at Milber Abattoir, Milber Down. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 93.60. Digital + A4.
SDV346746National Monuments Record Database: National Buildings Record. 2011. 446192. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV349872Report - Evaluation: Farnell, A.. 2009. Archaeological Trench Evaluation at Milber Abattoir, Old Torquay Road, Milber, Newton Abbot, Devon. Exeter Archaeology Report. 09.30. A4 stapled + Digital. 2-4; figure 2-4.
SDV350224Article in Serial: Unknown. 08/08/1980. Experts Stand By as Iron Age Drainage 'Dig' Goes Ahead. Mid Devon Advertiser. Photocopy.
SDV352279Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223 Vp1 5010-11 12-JUL-1946.
SDV360332Report - Evaluation: Ellis, C. 2015. Former Milber Down Abattoir, Newton Abbot: Evaluation and Watching Brief. Cotswold Archaeology. 14604. Digital.
SDV361305Interpretation: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2018-2019. The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 1, Haldon Ridge to Dart Valley. Historic England Research Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV362842Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1978. OS/78037. Ordnance Survey. Photograph (Paper). OS/78037 V 131-32 10-MAY-1978.

Associated Monuments

MDV56312Related to: Gulleys at Milber Down Small Camp (Monument)
MDV8649Related to: Milber Down Hillfort, Combeinteignhead (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV1778 - POT (Iron Age - 700 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV1776 - POT (I to V - 42 AD to 500 AD)
  • FDV1777 - COIN (II to III - 200 AD to 300 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV5936 - Archaeological Trench Evaluation at Milber Abattoir, Old Torquay Road, Milber, Newton Abbot, Devon
  • EDV7515 - The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping (formerly NMP) Survey (Ref: ACD1748)

Date Last Edited:Feb 18 2019 3:01PM