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HEMBURY CAUSEWAYED ENCLOSURE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  HEMBURY HILL CAUSEWAYED ENCLOSURE
DESCRIPTION + /

The remains of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure overlain by an Iron Age hillfort on Hembury Hill. Excavations in 1930-5 by Dorothy Liddell first revealed evidence for Neolithic use of the spur. An arc comprising 8 ditch segments was uncovered, emerging from beneath the later ramparts immediately to the south of the hillfort's western entrance and running east across the interior before gently curving south and disappearing below the ramparts on the eastern side. A further Neolithic ditch was found in the area of the hillfort's north east entrance, suggesting the possibility of a second enclosure circuit. An area of Neolithic activity, represented by a scatter of pits, post holes and artefacts was also examined at the southern tip of the spur within the later ramparts. The substantial Neolithic pottery assemblage recovered in 1930-5 made this the type site for Hembury Ware; later broadened to the South-Western style. Evidence for attack was also present in the ditches, with burnt deposits and a number of arrowheads.

Excavations in 1980-83 by Todd uncovered evidence for further Neolithic activity to the north of the main causewayed enclosure, represented by pits and a ditch segment. The site was included in the RCHME Industry and Enclosure in the Neolithic project. A brief site visit was undertaken, but as all the extant earthworks are Iron Age or later. Research into the dating of Early Neolithic enclosures has indicated that the inner ditch was dug before the outer ditch; the inner ditch was constructed probably in 3690-3655 cal BC, and the outer ditch in 3630-3605 cal BC. All the features in the area of the inner ditch and occupation at the southern end of the spur seem to have been used in the 37th or 36th century cal BC (so within the period 3700-3501 cal BC). The complex was in use for probably between about 110 to 210 years.

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