Danebury Ring

Nether Wallop, Hants


NGRef: SU323377
OSMap: LR185
Sitetype: IAf

Iron-Age Hillfort

An impressive ovoid fort with a complex history and continuous occupation over 500 years. Defences consisted of a massive double rampart and ditch, the inner bank now up to 5m high and 18m wide at its base. The fort was begun around the 6th or 5th century BC, comprising of a number of round houses with storage pits. This was replanned in the 4th century BC when 2 parallel cobbled streets were laid out, with 4 and 6 post rectangular structures placed along them for a length of 90m, which backed onto areas of storage pits. Both the structures and the streets appeared to hav been replaced several times. The defences were strengthened between 400 and 100BC. By the 2nd century BC, the new storage pits no longer conformed to the streets or building-lines, and large-scale habitation of the hillfort ceased c100BC, after the newly-built eastern gateway had been burned down. At its height, the population was around 200-300 persons, but at the time of the Roman invasion this had dwindled to a single family and their farmstead. The interior of the fort was littered with thousands of storage pits, some of which contained dateable material. Finds include pottery, grain and animal bones, and evidence of weaving, iron-smelting, and salt and shale distribution, plus a small hoard of 21 sword-shaped currency bars. The earliest identifiable features on the site are a number of Bronze Age? ritual pits, some of which contained dismembered dogs. There are three neolithic long barrows nearby (at SU320383).