Dorset’s Archaeology in 150 Words #7: Badbury Rings

Badbury Rings looking south with the west entrance and barbican on the right. The 6m square excavation trench was just above the entrance through the inner rampart.

On the National Trust-owned Kingston Lacy estate, near Wimborne, lies the impressive Iron Age hillfort of Badbury Rings.

The hillfort consists of three concentric, circular ditches that encompass a large inner area. It is estimated that the height from ditch bottom to rampart top would have been 40ft.

Surprisingly little investigation has been carried out. An RCHME survey began in 1993, and in 1998 28 potential hut sites were identified within the ramparts. The first excavations, led by Martin Papworth in 2004, when three evaluation trenches were dug, found that the majority of the pottery recovered was Late Iron Age.

It is likely that upon the Roman invasion that the hillfort was claimed by Vespasian’s armies; as at Maiden Castle. The evidence of Roman activity nearby can be seen in the Roman road that runs to the west of the hillfort and a Romano-British temple and the town of Vindocladia in the vicinity.

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Batts Bed field north of Badbury where the Dorchester to London roman road crosses the Bath to Poole Harbour road. The parish  boundary hedge that crosses the picture top to bottom may preserve the line of the road to Hod Hill and Ilchester.

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