Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

EN0411: Scratchbury Camp  

(Scratchbury Hill)

Sources: Esri, DigitalGlobe, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, GeoEye, USDA FSA, USGS, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, and the GIS User Community

HER:  Wiltshire and Swindon MWI3858

NMR:  ST 94 SW 1 (211396)

SM:  1010213

NGR:  ST91284424

X:  391280  Y:  144242  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

Large, univallate, contour hillfort located on the Upper Chalk at the S edge of the Salisbury Plain Chalk Massif with extensive views overlooking the lower Wylye Valley to the S. Defences cut off the site from rest of the chalk spur, similar to that at Battlesbury (Atlas No 0386) located 1km to the NE, separated only by Middle Hill. In MOD Salisbury Plain Training Area. Very steep on W and SW sides. Steep on N and NE with level to moderate sloping to SE above steep-sided combe cutting into hillside on E. Interior area 17ha. Defined by single bank with external ditch, best preserved on W where rampart stands to height of c. 6m above ditch bottom and c. 15m wide at base. Ditch c. 5m-8m wide and up to 1m deep. Elsewhere, hillfort defined by bank 3m-6m in height above ditch bottom, the ditch being c. 4m-6m wide and up to 0.5m deep. On E side ditch absent and replaced by ledge c. 3m-8m wide. Crest of rampart undulating, mirrored in the ditch, possibly suggesting gang working. Quarry scoop behind rampart and many circular and curvilinear depressions possibly structures. Three main entrances in E, SE and NW, all probably original. SE, and simplest, single gap of c. 20m between rampart and ditch terminals, E and NW off-set at 7m and 15m gap respectively. Several small depressions by NW entrance possibly hut sites. D-shaped enclosure in the centre hillfort previously interpreted as Neolithic causewayed enclosure due to interrupted nature and the discovery of jade and flint axes. Excavations by W.F. Grimes subsequently shown this to be Iron Age, with Iron Age pottery in the primary fill, and interruptions probably result of post medieval ploughing, with only one well-defined lynchet visible. Much of N and W of interior densely settled and c.100 probable structures identified, surviving mainly as circular hollows c. 5m-10m diameter up to 0.6m deep. Six round barrows on hill (one at highest point) and in 1804 Roman bronze spoon found. Roman pottery also recorded by Colt Hoare (1812). Downland pasture. Good condition. On Ist Ed. OS map (1887).

Status

Citizen Science:  ✓  Sonia Heywood, Wilts Arch and NH Soc Arch Field Group; Unknown source, LiDAR data

Reliability of Data:  Confirmed

Reliability of Interpretation:  Confirmed

Location

X:  -236687  Y:  6656263  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -2.126199  Latitude:  51.197271  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  England

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Wiltshire

Historic County:   Wiltshire

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Norton Bavant

Condition

Good condition. SSSI.

Extant:  
Cropmark:  
Likely Destroyed:  

Land Use

Downland pasture.

Woodland:  
Commercial Forestry Plantation:  
Parkland:  
Pasture (Grazing):  
Arable:  
Scrub/Bracken:  
Bare Outcrop:  
Heather/Moorland:  
Heath:  
Built-up:  
Coastal Grassland:  
Other:  

Landscape

Hillfort Type

Large, univallate, contour hillfort located on the Upper Chalk at the S edge of the Salisbury Plain Chalk Massif, with extensive views overlooking the lower Wylye Valley to the S. Domed interior. Very steep on W and SW sides. Steep on N and NE with level to moderate sloping to SE above steep-sided combe cutting into hillside on E.

Contour Fort:  
Partial Contour Fort:  
Promontory Fort:  
Hillslope Fort:  
Level Terrain Fort:  
Marsh Fort:  
Multiple Enclosure Fort:  

Topographic Position

Located on a downland spur above the River Wylye

Hilltop:  
Coastal Promontory:  
Inland Promontory:  
Valley Bottom:  
Knoll/Hillock/Outcrop:  
Ridge:  
Cliff/Plateau-edge/Scarp:  
Hillslope:  
Lowland:  
Spur:  

Dominant Topographic Feature:  Hill top

Aspect

North:  
Northeast:  
East:  
Southeast:  
South:  
Southwest:  
West:  
Northwest:  
Level:  

Elevation

Altitude:  196.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

Iron Age pottery found in interior enclosure.

Reliability:  B - Medium

Pre 1200BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
800BC - 400BC:  
400BC - AD50:  
AD50 - AD400:  
AD400 - AD 800:  
Post AD800:  
Unknown:  

Pre Hillfort Activity:  ✓  Six round barrows on hill and D-shaped enclosure in the centre hillfort previously interpreted as Neolithic causewayed enclosure due to interrupted nature and the discovery of jade and flint axes.

Post Hillfort Activity:  ✓  1804 Roman bronze spoon found and Roman pottery also recorded by Colt Hoare suggest activity.

Artefactual:  Iron Age pottery found in interior enclosure.

Investigations

In Aubrey's Monumenta Britannica (1665-1693). On Ist Ed. OS map (1887). Excavation W Cunnington Sen 1800-10. Excavation by W.F. Grimes 1957. Measured survey RCHME: South Wiltshire Project, ref. no. 831573. RCHME field survey Salisbury Plain Training Area, ref. no. 888341. LiDAR plan (Citizen Science)

LiDAR Survey (Uncertain):  Citizen Science
Other (Uncertain):  RCHME field survey Salisbury Plain Training Area.
Other (Uncertain):  Measured survey RCHME: South Wiltshire Project.
1st Identified Written Reference (1665-1693):  Aubrey’s Monumenta Britannica.
Excavation (1800-10):  W. Cunnington Sen.
1st Identified Map Depiction (1887):  OS map
Excavation (1957):  W.F. Grimes
Other (1984):  Visit by Hillfort Study Group

Interior Features

Quarry scoop behind rampart and many circular and curvilinear depressions possibly structures. Excavations by W.F. Grimes found Iron Age pottery in the primary fill of interior enclosure. 1804 Roman bronze spoon found. Roman pottery was also recorded by Colt Hoare.

Water Source

None:  
Spring:  
Stream:  
Pool:  
Flush:  
Well:  
Other:  

Surface

Quarry scoop behind rampart. Much of N and W of interior densely settled and c.100 probable structures identified, surviving mainly as circular and curvilinear hollows or depressions c. 5m-10m diameter up to 0.6m deep.

No Known Features:  
Round Stone Structures:  
Rectangular Stone Structures:  
Curvilinear Platforms:  
Other Roundhouse Evidence:  
Pits:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  

Excavation

Excavations by W.F. Grimes found Iron Age pottery in the primary fill of interior enclosure.

No Known Excavation:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Geophysics

No Known Geophysics:  
Pits:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Finds

Excavations by W.F. Grimes found Iron Age pottery in the primary fill of interior enclosure. 1804 Roman bronze spoon found. Roman pottery was also recorded by Colt Hoare.

No Known Finds:  
Pottery:  
Metal:  
Metalworking:  
Human Bones:  
Animal Bones:  
Lithics:  
Environmental:  
Other:  

Aerial

APs Not Checked:  
None:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Other:  

Entrances

Three main entrances in E, SE and NW, all probably original. SE, and simplest, single gap of c. 20m between rampart and ditch terminals, E and NW off-set at 7m and 15m gap respectively. Rectangular platform immediately within S terminal of NW entrance. Location and unusual morphology suggests possible guard chamber. 5 other breaks.

Total Number of Breaks Through Ramparts:  8:  Desk estimated eight gaps.

Number of Possible Original Entrances:   

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  Possible. Location and unusual morphology suggests possible guard chamber.

Entrance 1 (Northwest):  Oblique:  Offset 15m wide entrance with possible guard chamber.
Entrance 1 (Northwest):  Recesses/Guard Chambers:  Possible. Location and unusual morphology suggests possible guard chamber.
Entrance 2 (East):  Oblique:  Offset 7m wide.
Entrance 3 (Southeast):  Simple Gap:  20m wide.

Enclosing Works

Defined by single bank with external ditch, best preserved on W where rampart stands to height of c. 6m above ditch bottom and c. 15m wide at base. Ditch c. 5m-8m wide and up to 1m deep. Elsewhere, hillfort defined by bank 3m-6m in height above ditch bottom, the ditch being c. 4m-6m wide and up to 0.5m deep. On E side ditch absent and replaced by ledge c. 3m-8m wide. Crest of rampart undulating, mirrored in the ditch, possibly suggesting gang working. Quarry scoop behind rampart and many circular and curvilinear depressions possibly structures.

Enclosed Area 1:  17.0ha.
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  17.0ha.

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✓  

Number of Ramparts:  1

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts NW Quadrant:  1

Current Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  
Unknown:  

Multi-period Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:  
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  

Surface Evidence

On E side ditch absent and replaced by ledge c. 3m-8m wide.

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Rubble:  
Wall-walk:  
Evidence of Timber:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
Other:  

Excavated Evidence

Interruptions probably result of post medieval ploughing, with only one well-defined lynchet visible.

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Murus Duplex:  
Timber-framed:  
Timber-laced:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
No Known Excavation:  
Other:  

Gang Working

Gang Working:  ✓  Crest of rampart undulating, mirrored in the ditch, possibly suggesting gang working.

Ditches

Ditches:  

Number of Ditches:  1:  Ditch c. 5m-8m wide and up to 1m deep at best.

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Hoare, R.C. 1812. The ancient history of South Wiltshire, Vol 1, London: William Miller, 219-20, (re-published 1975, Wakefield: EP publishing).

Pugh, R.B. and Crittall, E. eds 1957. A history of Wiltshire, 1.1, The Victoria history of the counties of England, Oxford: OUP, 93, 269.

Terms of Use

The online version of the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland should be cited as:

Lock, G. and Ralston, I. 2017.  Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland. [ONLINE] Available at: https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk.

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