Longbottom Camp Hillfort, Somerset

Longbottom Camp hillfort is an irregular rhomboidal enclosure with a bank and outer ditch on the N (uphill) side and scarp on the S. In the NE corner is a small mound 0.4m high. There is no obvious entrance. This is not a defensive work and its period is uncertain. The mound may be upcast from the ditch.

Roughly rhomboidal enclosure now delineated by a slight scarp on the S and traces of a ditch on the other sides. There is no sign of an entrance.

Although the earthwork is on a S-facing slope, the upper part of the enclosure is nearly level, apparently a platform has been created. The bank is not well preserved on the uphill side, possibly there has been slippage down onto the platform, the ditch is apparent however. Elsewhere at best, the bank is 7m wide and 0.5m high, the ditch 4m wide and 0.5m deep. There is turf loss and erosion around the telegraph post and its strainers. A rather broken down fence runs diagonally along the bank and ditch on the S side, here a cattle walk on either side is causing rippling of the surface.

The monument has been fenced across and a tree planted, otherwise it is under permanent grass. A resistivity survey was undertaken in November and December 2006 after a request by English Heritage. This revealed a sub-rectangular enclosure overlying an earlier field system. The eastern edge of the enclosure is defined by a trackway. The NE corner of the enclosure incorporates what is almost certainly a small round barrow. A second trackway runs diagonally SE to NW above the enclosure. Other earthworks may be part of field systems, but a clear building platform enclosed by a ditch suggest a later structure.

There are indications of two small enclosures, one pre-dating the large enclosure and one later. An earthwork survey was undertaken in ?2006 (PRN 24509) and concluded that the enclosure was not defensive in nature. No evidence of settlement within the enclosure was noted. Trackways and platforms were noted to the east of the enclosure and may represent a settlement, the chronological relationshipof which to the camp is unclear. A potential searchlight position was also noted, in the location previsously interpreted as a barrow.

The enclosure which may date to between the Prehistoric and Medieval periods, centred at ST 4574 5684, is visible as an earthwork on aerial photographs to the northwest of Longbottom Farm, Shipham. The enclosure is sub-rhomboidal in shape, enclosing an area measuring 63m by 57m. It is formed of a bank with an external ditch on the east, west and south sides. There is a further external bank on the eastern side. The banks measure up to 8m in width and the external ditch measures up to 5m in width. Ditches lead off from the southwestern and northeastern corners of the enclosure. In the southwestern corner, the ditch leads off to the southwest and then turns to the north, extending to ST 4569 5683. In the northeastern corner, the ditch extends to the northeast to ST 4584 5689. This ditch may be part of a field system leading off from the enclosure as two other ditches lie perpendicular and parallel to the ditch, forming fragmentary, sub-square fields.

An enclosure of similar size is located 597m to the east (PRN 10777) which is also possibly Iron Age or earlier Roman in date. Both enclosures may have been settlements or possibly stock enclosures. They may have been year round settlements or have been part of a transhumance system, seasonally occupied when stock were moved to higher ground.


OS map reference: ST 4574 5684. Nearest town/village: Shipham.

Data kindly supplied by the Somerset Historic Environment Record.

Record created in April 1983

© Copyright Somerset County Council 2013

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