Codford Circle Hillfort, Wiltshire

Oval earthwork, with a slight bank and outer ditch. Outer ditch and interior ploughed when B) visited by J Willoughby in 1975.

Three exploratory trenches in 2006 confirmed an Iron Age date from the external ditch and from the internal pits. Excavation of the low 0.4m high bank and ditch revealed a steep almost V-shaped ditch 4m wide x 2.1m deep, lying below a thick 0.3m buried soil. Although plenty of animal bone and worked flint were recovered, there was little pottery, and although undiagnostic, this was probably Iron Age.

The entrance is thought to have been on the south-east, where the modern entrance is now. Inside the north-western portion of the bank, a survey conducted by David Field revealed an internal length of shallow remnant ditch. Two auger holes showed indicated a much greater depth indicating pits. A 15m long trench was stripped crossing the features found by augering, revealing the top of a large oval pit, 3.6m x 2.4m, filled with a typical ploughwash with burnt and worked flint. Below this was 1.2m of chalk rubble containing many worked flints and animal bones, some pottery and at least two large chalk loomweights.

This backfilled chalk sealed a 0.4m deep greasy black and highly organic charcoal-rich deposit containing large quantities of crudely worked and burnt flint, animal bones (especially burnt ribs) and sherds of Early Iron Age pottery. On the base of the shaft-like pit, at a depth of 2.5m, were several placed burnt sarsen boulders. Excavation within the opposite side of the enclosure ( on the line of a slight ditch surveyed by Davis Field) revealed the top of another comparable pit or ditch terminal which was not fully excavated.

The same sequence of flint-filled upper ploughwash over chalk rubble was present. There are at least 34 pits in addition to longer ditch segments inside Codford Circle and another arc of pits outside the south-east entrance. The basal deposit of the pit seems to represent the discard of one or more feasts at which lamb and beef ribs seem to have been an important constituent. 2.5m deep pits were apparently dug to dispose of the waste from this feasting, and rapidly backfilled.


OS map reference: ST 9825 4056. Nearest town/village: Codford.

Information © Wiltshire County Council.

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