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Ramparts inside Hembury hillfort

Hembury is a Neolithic causewayed enclosure and Iron Age hill fort near Honiton in Devon. It dates from the late fifth and early fourth millennia BC onwards to the Roman invasion. The fort is situated on a promontory to the north of and overlooking the River Otter valley at approx 178 metres above sea level.[1] It has given its name to some of the earliest Neolithic pottery in southern Britain. An Iron Age hill fort[2] was later built on the same site. During an excavation headed by Malcolm Todd, archaeological evidence was found on the site of Roman military occupation, suggesting a fort within the existing Iron Age site.[3]

It was excavated between 1930 and 1935 by Dorothy Liddell. She identified a timber framed entrance to the causewayed enclosure and an oval arrangement of postholes in the middle which she interpreted as being a building destroyed by fire before the enclosure earthworks were built.

Hembury ware pottery was generally characterised by round bottomed bowls with lug handles. Much of it was made further west, around The Lizard using Gabbroic clay and it was traded throughout the British Isles. Several pieces of Hembury ware Gabbro pottery are on display in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, Devon.


  1. ^ Sellman, R.R. (1985). "The Iron Age in Devon (ch.2)". Aspects of Devon History. Exeter: Devon Books. pp. 11 (Map of Iron Age hill forts in Devon including Hembury Castle). ISBN 0-86114-756-1. 
  2. ^ R.R.Sellman; Aspects of Devon History, Devon Books 1985 - ISBN 0-86114-756-1 - Chapter 2; The Iron Age in Devon. Map Page 11 of Iron Age hill forts in Devon includes Hembury.
  3. ^ "Professor Malcolm Todd". The Times. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 

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Coordinates: 50°49′14″N 3°15′43″W / 50.82061°N 3.26200°W / 50.82061; -3.26200