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Title:Hembury Fort
Originator:Salvatore, J. P.
Summary:A small multivallate Iron Age hillfort. Its location, on a narrow S facing promontory at the end of a 240m high ridge protruding from the Blackdown Hills, was almost certainly chosen for its natural defensive qualities. The concentric multiple ditch and rampart defensive circuit complemented the steep hill slopes and enclosed a long pear-shaped interior area of about 3.5ha. The only flat approach was from the N, the 2 in-turned entrances of the hillfort were however located away from this on the W + E sides. The visible features of the hillfort represent the final, probably 1C BC defences of a site which was first defended in the Iron Age in the middle of the first millennium BC. Excavations have shown that the first phase of defences took the form of a box rampart revetted in timber. The second and main phase saw the replacement of the box rampart with a triple line of defences comprising ramparts, ditches, and a counterscarp bank. The inner face of the innermost rampart varies in height between 1m and 2.5m. Its outer face forms a pure glacis bank for 120m along the SE side of the monument, elsewhere there is a berm 2m to 5m wide prior to a steep-sided bank which is on average between 16.5m and 21.5m deep on the slope where it forms, at its base, the inner face of the innermost ditch. This ditch varies in width between 2.5m and 4.2m. The inner ditch is fronted by a further rampart of glacis type, the average depth on the slope of which is 17.5m. The base of this rampart forms the inner face of the outer ditch which is on average 5.5m wide the outer ditch is fronted by a low counterscarp bank which has been artificially straightened on the E side where it forms a parish boundary. At the vulnerable N end an additional rampart and a 5m wide ditch extending for some 80m were added although they were never completed across the entire exposed neck of ground. The hillfort had dual entrance ways, one to the NE and one to the W. Both entrance ways were in-turned and approached by embanked causeways no more than a maximum of 6m wide across the ditch ends. Excavations have revealed the presence of post holes representing the positions of timber revetments and palisades indicating well-defended entries. The relatively flat interior of the hillfort is known to have supported at least one round house of 7m diam which was located near the E rampart.

Associated Monuments (3)

MDV5327Hembury Fort Neolithic Settlement (Monument)
MDV1854Hembury Fort Roman Occupation (Monument)
MDV1853Hembury Hillfort, Payhembury (Monument)