Dorset’s Archaeology in 150 Words #4: Hambledon Hill

Hambledon Hill is a National Trust-owned hill fort in Dorset, England, on the southwestern corner of Cranborne Chase. On initial viewing the site represents one of the most iconic Iron Age hillforts in southern England, however, it provides a great deal of invaluable evidence of Neolithic lifestyle.

Excavation and survey by Roger Mercer between 1974 and 1986 uncovered a complex of early Neolithic earthworks, including two causewayed enclosures, two long barrows and several defensive earthworks. The vast quantity of material finds gives evidence for conflict, feasting, the treatment of the human corpse, trade and agriculture.

The Iron Age hillfort originally had a single circuit of ramparts but the defences were increased to have three entrances and further circuits of banks and ditches increasing the hillfort’s size to 125,000 m2. The site appears to have been abandoned around 300 BC possibly as a result of the success of the nearby Hod Hill.

Hambledon Hill's iconic Iron Age defensive banks
Hambledon Hill’s iconic Iron Age defensive banks

Hambledon Hill GE


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