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UFFINGTON CASTLE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  UFFINGTON HILLFORT, WOOLSTON CASTLE
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The univallate Iron Age hillfort known as Uffington Castle. It is D-shaped, enclosing 3 hectares, with a rampart and ditch, counterscarp bank, and a single western entrance. Limited excavation in 1853-8 and in 1922, indicated that the inner bank appeared to be sarsen faced, and two rows of postholes suggest either a timber palisade or posts were incorporated in the facing. Excavations in 1989-90 identified two phases of rampart construction, the earliest, early Iron Age in date, comprising box rampart with a backing ditch. A blocked entrance was identified in the eastern rampart, and dated to the 8th to 7th centuries BC. It would have had a gatehouse, and the large post pits belonging to this structure were identified. This phase was succeeded, on almost the same alignment and after a period of abandonment, by a dump rampart with a large V-shaped ditch. A parapet wall was also present. Breaches in the ramparts on the northeast and southeast sides appear to be Roman in date.

Geophysical surveys of the interior indicated the site was probably not densely occupied or long-lived. Possible posthole structures were located in the southwest corner of the hillfort but remain unexcavated. Other magnetic responses are thought to originate from the remains of post-medieval fairs. Excavations of further interior features (pits, gullies, and postholes) in 1994-5, identified late Bronze Age activity (8th century BC), but in the main the features were of early Iron Age date (7th century BC), with some middle Iron Age activity (4th century BC). Roman features included an oven or corn drier. During the Anglo-Saxon period the hillfort acted as a boundary marker for the Uffington and Woolstone estates. Some more ephemeral features in the interior may have been lost due to medieval and later ploughing, evidenced by ridge and furrow earthworks. It was cultivated as recently as 1956 until the Ministry of Works re-established grassland. The site is in the care of English Heritage.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.