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Ladle Hill—an unfinished hillfort

  • Stuart Piggott
Extract

Every archaeologist has at one time or another no doubt idly toyed with the attractive, if utterly impractical, idea of travelling backwards in time, and has seen himself, arrived within his ' period ', solving many problems by merely looking around him. Students of earthworks would give much to have been present at the building of a hillfort, for even if conversation with the builders were impossible, a great deal might be learned by watching the work in progress. We today, dealing with hillforts completed some two thousand years ago, find it difficult even after excavation to visualize the exact methods of construction of these defences.

There is however one example of a hillfort which is in that same unfinished state as our time-traveller might find were he on the Wessex Downs in the first few centuries B.C. True that he (lucky man !) would find the ditches newly dug and the rampart fresh piled chalk, while we today see them grass-grown and denuded; but never- theless these earthworks on Ladle Hill do help us to understand how they made those great green ramparts to protect their villages.

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1 Map references are-O.s. 1-inch, 113 H 4 ; 6-inch IX sw.

2 This district is the subject of a geographical study by MrCrawford, O.G.S.The Andover District, 1922.

3 Field Archaeology of Hants, pp. 78–9, 380.

4 ANTIQUITY, 4, 187200.

5 Air Survey and Archaeology, 2nd edition, pl. X, pp. 4 and 32.

* This explanation of the ditch was first suggested by Dr Cecil Curwen, F.S.A.

6 Report on Excavations at Hembury Fort, Devon, 1930, by MissLiddell, D.M., p. 11.

7 B.C.S. 787; K.C.D. 1145. These bounds have been studied by Crawford (Andover District, pp. 77-8) and Grundy in Arch. Journ. 1921, LXXVIII, 130-134.

8 B.C.S. 674 ; K.C.D. 1102. Crawford op. cit., 78-9 ; Grundy in Arch. Journ. 1924, LXXXI, 94-103.

9 Andover District (Oxford, 1922), p. 77 . Photographs, showing the pond completely dry in 1911, are printed opposite p. 78.

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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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