Kingsdown Camp Hillfort, Mells Down, Somerset

Kingsdown Camp hillfort is a small univallate enclosure with further earthworks around. The whole area is under pasture. The main enclosure is a rough quadrilateral with an entrance to the north-east. The bank is up to 0.75m high with an external ditch surviving on the west and north about 0.25m deep. From the north-east entrance a low causeway runs north-east as far as a sinuous bank which runs from north-south across the ridge east of the enclosure. This bank is about 0.3m high and 3m wide. From the north-west side of the enclosure a low bank 0.2m high runs north-west to the road and then turns at right angles to the south-west. Other slight earthworks are visible in the area.

Site ploughed inside and out and some of the banks and ditches are not under crops. Unploughed bank now stands 25m from the fence to the N and 30m from the wood to the S although it can still be seen under the crop. Inner bank running E-W across the site is now ploughed over but can still be made out. In the centre of the camp lies a square enclosure with a bank of dry stone 4.5m wide and 1m high. An external ditch 3.5m wide and 0.75m deep survives only on the NE. Entrance in the E side of the enclosure bank is possibly original.

Preliminary excavations were undertaken in very wet conditions in 1927.

Excavated in 1927-9 by H. St. G Gray. The defences consisted of a pre-Flavian dry stone wall and “V” shaped outer ditch, with a pre-Belgic Belgic inner ditch. Roman occupation ceased about the mid C2. Two paved entrances were found, the original to the SSE and the Roman to the NE, where two post holes of a gate were revealed. The inner ditch produced a quantity of Hod Hill type brooches (cAD40-50), hearths and finds of Lake Village type, including two currency bars and bone needles. Also found were an iron dagger (La Tene II), a Dobunnic silver coin (Eisn), an as of Domitian, two Dupondii of Hadrian, pre-conquest and Roman pottery. A feature of the inner ditch was a number of burials relating to Roman occupation. The outer ditch, on pottery evidence, very probably dates to the Claudius-Nero period. Various mounds and banks in the area of the camp were examined, but their purposes were not determined. They are composed, very largely, of local stone. Roman sherds and flint flakes were found, also a probably re-interred skeleton and considerable amount of iron slag.

All the finds are at the Somerset County Museum.

Said to be the site of a battle in which two kings were slain. Burials in large barrow nearby, now levelled.

Fourteen pieces of flint were collected on 2 March 1997 from mole hills in the same field as Kingsdown Camp. Pieces included a broken scraper and burnt flint. Also found was one piece of iron age pottery.

All in good condition in grass that is mown for silage or hay although there is some weed growth on the steeper slopes that are not mown.

Fourteen pieces of flint were discovered in molehills in the same field as Kingsdown Camp. Included were a broken scraper and burnt flint. One piece of iron age pottery was also discovered.


OS map reference: ST 7188 5172. Nearest town/village: Kilmersdon.

Data kindly supplied by the Somerset Historic Environment Record.

Record created on 02 July 2001

© Copyright Somerset County Council 2007

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