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BEACON HILL

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A prehistoric hillfort, probably of Iron Age date. The site was surveyed by RCHME in June 1978. The defences comprise a single ditch between two banks which, for much of their circuit, follow the shoulder of the hill. A single entrance exists on the south east side, and is flanked by parallel banks on each side, and accompanied by outer hornworks. A second entrance, now blocked, may have existed on the west side. The interior remains are generally slight, and comprise traces of about 30 hut circles, a similar number of platforms (not necessarily for buildings), and about 60 pits. Other features include a few low mounds, none recognizable as barrows, plus various unclassifiable banks and ditches. Two short, irregular stretches of bank and ditch on the highest part of the hill appear to predate the hillfort earthworks. If linked, they would have enclosed an area of less than 1.2 hectares. Their date is unknown, although it has been suggested that they may represent traces of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure. Material recovered from the surface in the hillfort interior during the survey included Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age potsherds. The tomb of the 5th Earl of Caernarvon stands on a platform in the south west corner of the hillfort. A feature in the south east corner can be plausibly interpreted as a pillow mound. Excavations in the hillfort in 1912 by Leonard Woolley seemed to confirm the identification of some of the interior features as hut circles. Pot sherds recovered by him were generally described as Bronze Age. One depression contained pottery and bottles of Medieval and later date and was presumably associated with the beacon (SU 45 NE 35).

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