Monument record MCC7048 - Pitchbury Ramparts, Great Horkesley


Iron Age hillfort, roughly oval in shape with a double rampart and ditch.


Grid reference Centred TL 966 289 (217m by 266m) (FCE)
Map sheet TL92NE
County ESSEX


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

Iron Age hillfort, roughly oval in shape with a double rampart and ditch. The defences are now only preserved in the wood. The fort is approximately 800 feet long and 600 feet wide, it was largely levelled for agriculture some 50 years ago (1920's). Partial excavation was undertaken in 1973 by the Colchester Excavation Committee along the line of the gas pipeline. Excavation here in 1924 by T. Crusoe and Ward Perkins was never published.<2> Possibly unfinished Iron Age defended settlement; the remains of the north end of a large camp, roughly oval and defended by a double rampart and ditch. The defences are well preserved in the wood, the inner rampart being 10 feet above the ditch which is 60 feet wide from crest to crest, but the remainder has been obliterated and is now only faintly visible in a large field to the south of the wood. The camp, dated by from the pottery to the Aylesford-Swarling La Tene III period was apparently never finished and only temporarily occupied. Excavation in 1973 revealed that the outer ditch was incomplete and at least two periods of occupation were found to predate it. A few Belgic sherds were discovered suggesting later occupation of the area if not specifically the camp itself.<2> Other ref. <3><4><5><6><7>
A nine week excavation in advance of a gas pipeline showed the outer bank and ditch to be incomplete - there may be topographical reasons for this. No structures were identified in the interior, possibly due to cultivation damage. At least two periods of occupation were found to predate the hillfort and the only positive evidence relating to the date of construction is from a carbon sample taken from some burnt wood found approximately 0.3m from the bottom of the inner ditch which gave a date of 10BC+ /-80. A few Belgic sherds were found.<8> The broad V-shaped ditch was later replaced by a shallow flat-bottomed one the rampart was a single dump construction.<9>
Plan showing the line of the pipeline in HER.<10> Aps. in EHER<11><12><13>, and on Google Earth.<17>
Photos of the ramparts and 1973 excavation.<14><15>

Scheduling revised July 2002.<16>

Site Assessment = Scheduled site. Threatened by pipeline.<7> The interior of the fort has been badly damaged by cultivation.<8> It is still well preserved in the wood but there is no evidence in the field to the south.<1>

Sources/Archives (17)

  • <1> DESC TEXT: unknown. 1980. SMR.
  • <2> RECORD SHEET/FORM: Ordnance Survey. unknown. OS cards. TL92NE23, 1976.
  • <3> DESC TEXT: RCHME. 1922. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 3. Vol 3, p127.
  • <4> DESC TEXT: RCHME. 1922. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 3. Vol 3, p128.
  • <5> DESC TEXT: unknown. 1963. Essex. Vol 1, p148.
  • <6> DESC TEXT: Hawkes, CFC and Hull, MR. 1947. Camulodunum. p15, 205.
  • <7> Scheduling record: Department of the Environment. 1986. DOS Scheduled Ancient Monuments. parts 5-8.
  • <8> DESC TEXT: Crummy, P in Huggins, PJ. 1975. Archaeology in Essex 1973-4. No 50, p11.
  • <9> DESC TEXT: Rodwell, W in Cunliffe, BW and Rowley, RT. 1975. Coinage, Oppida and the rise of Belgic Power in SE Britain. Supp Ser 11, p193.
  • <10> MENTION: unknown. unknown. Pitchbury Ramparts.
  • <11> AP: CUCAP. 1979. CKW 19-20.
  • <12> AP: CUCAP. unknown. BFM 10-11.
  • <13> AP: McMaster, I. unknown. McMaster. 12 frames.
  • <14> Photograph: unknown. unknown. TL92-010. 4 frames.
  • <15> Map: Ingle, CJ, Strachan, D, Tyler, S and Saunders, H. 1993-2012. NMP Cropmark Plot - 1:10,000.
  • <16> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2002. Small multivallate hillfort known as Pitchbury Ramparts - SM 29450. 29450.
  • <17> AP (Digital): Google Earth. 2005. Aerial photograph of cropmarks of Pitchbury Ramparts, Great Horkesley.

Finds (1)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Jul 15 2016 2:35PM

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