Caesar’s Camp Hill-fort, Berkshire
Caesar’s Camp (Berkshire) is a large Iron Age univallate hillfort of approx. 10 hectares (24.7 acres). It is one of Britain’s more irregularly shaped hillforts, consciencously following the contours of the promontary on which it sits – Hogg described it as a ‘curious oak leaf plan’,(1) which pretty much hits the nail on the head. There are two entrances, one in the Northern ramparts, and one in the South. The defences themselves are well preserved, reaching up to 4 metres (13 feet) in height, and 15 metres (50 ft) wide (2). The ramparts on the East side of the Northern extremes of this site are cut through by ‘Queen Anne Gulley’, an 18th century extension possibly intended to allow Queen Anne to follow the hunt in a carriage. This extension also links Nine Mile Ride to the interior of the Bramshill Forest. (3)
English Heritage commissioned a geophysical survey covering two hectares of the enclosure, which revealed the signatures of a number of possible storage pits (for more on Iron Age pits found inside hillforts, see Danebury Ring – The Storage Pits) as well as an internal quarry ditch on the inside of the Western defences. The magnetic susceptability survey suggested that occupation was concentrated near the ramparts, however, values from other parts of the site were very low. This could indicate that the site was sparsely inhabited, but there is also the possibility that the subtler magnetic anomolies that indicate interior structures could have been adversly affected by the commercial confier plantation that occupied part of the enclosure – beds of pine needles can create acid conditions which leach iron rich minerals from the soil.(4)
Cotton reports that an ‘ancient record suggests that a coin of Cunobelinus‘ was found somehwere in the interior of the camp.(5) An example of gold quarter stater from Cunobelinus’ mint in Camelodunum (Colchester) can be viewed at the Portable Antiquities website.
Other Items of Interest
Culturally important in the 1970s as the site of a major ‘free festival’ – see the UK Rock Festivals website for more details. DD is not responsible for external content.
OS map reference: SU 8636 6570. Nearest town: Caesar’s Camp is just outside the southern fringes of Easthampstead.
1. Hogg, A. H. A. (1975). Hill-forts of Britain. Granada Publishing Ltd. P 157
2. English Heritage. (2011). The National Heritage List for England. Scheduled Monument 1016334 description.
4. Linford, N. (1995). Ancient Monuments Laboratory report number: ???/95. Retrieved on 18/05/2013
5. Aylwin Cotton, M. (1962). Berkshire Hill Forts. Berkshire Archaeological Journal: vol. 60: 30-52