Ham Hill

Stoke Sub Hamdon, Somerset


NGRef: ST484164
OSMap: LR193
Sitetype: IAf

Durotriges Tribal Centre

This L-shaped hillfort is immense, with a circumference of 3 miles (4.8km) its double bank and ditches enclose an area of 210 acres (85ha). There are additional external defences on the north-east and the south-west, and inturned entrances on the south-east and north-east. There is a triangular annexe on the north side and a rectangular one on the south. Finds from the site include Bronze-Age artefacts, iron currency bars, gold and silver coins, cremations, burials, chariot parts, and a war cemetary dating to the initial Roman advance through the area. Much Roman military equipment has been found on the site, and it is fairly safe to assume that Ham Hill should be numbered among the twenty "towns" destroyed by a young emperor Vespasian during his days as legionary legate of Legio II Augusta in the Roman invasion army of Claudius. The fort would have been captured sometime around 45AD (ish). The fort has suffered in more recent times from quarrying, its honey-coloured limestone being much prized as building material in this part of the world.

Two hoards of metalwork were recovered from within the enclosure during the 19th century. Including various bronze-work, chariot fittings, and the iron rim of a wheel, all of which would indicate a deposition during the late Iron-Age.

See the article Ironwork Hoards in Iron Age and Roman Britain by W.H. Manning in Britannia III (1972) pp.224-250