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WARTON CRAG HILLTOP ENCLOSURE

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Hilltop enclosure defined by three quite widely spaced but near-concentric arcs of stone walling cutting off the southern end of Warton Crag, 1.5km north of Carnforth in Lancashire. The Crag is a prominent limestone outcrop naturally defended on three sides (west, south and south-east) by a series of steep scars and cliffs; the three walls arc from west to south-east and isolate the southern tip of the Crag from the more gently sloping northern dip slope. The area defined by the inner wall is circa 2.6ha. The monument has conventionally been classed as an Iron Age hillfort, but the walls are not really of sufficient size or scale to warrant that description: they are extremely poorly preserved, but were originally no more than circa 2m wide and their style of construction (orthostats with rubble infill) also means they could never have stood particularly high. The site is heavily wooded, making detailed observation difficult, but the inner wall has two entrances through it, one close to either end; the middle and outer walls have a number of breaks in them, of which, respectively, three and four may be original entrances. The inner wall also has a small chamber within its width close to the western entrance. Much of the interior of the enclosure is exposed limestone pavement, making it unlikely that it was ever permanently occupied. Dating and interpretation of function are difficult, but a possible parallel for the site is the scarp-edge enclosure of Gardom's Edge in Derbyshire, which has recently been excavated and dated to the late 2nd millennium BC; the excavators have suggested that site was used as a central meeting and gathering place by pastoralists. Scheduled.

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