Kingsdown Camp

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Kingsdown Camp
Kingsdown Camp is located in Somerset
Kingsdown Camp
Location of Kingsdown Camp in Somerset
Location Buckland Dinham, Somerset, England.
Coordinates 51°15′51″N 2°24′12″W / 51.26417°N 2.40333°W / 51.26417; -2.40333Coordinates: 51°15′51″N 2°24′12″W / 51.26417°N 2.40333°W / 51.26417; -2.40333
Area 0.15 hectares (0.37 acres)
Built Iron Age
Reference no. 203188[1]

Kingsdown Camp is an Iron Age hill fort at Buckland Dinham 4.5 kilometres (3 mi) South East of Radstock, Somerset, England. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.[1]

It is a univallate fort with an area of 0.15 hectares (0.37 acres), and is approximately quadrilateral in shape.[2] In the Iron Age or Roman period a drystone wall was constructed, possibly 4 metres (13 ft) high and 2.5 metres (8 ft) wide. There is an entrance on the northeast side.[3] The fort continued to be used by the Romans.


Hill forts developed in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age, roughly the start of the first millennium BC.[4] The reason for their emergence in Britain, and their purpose, has been a subject of debate. It has been argued that they could have been military sites constructed in response to invasion from continental Europe, sites built by invaders, or a military reaction to social tensions caused by an increasing population and consequent pressure on agriculture. The dominant view since the 1960s has been that the increasing use of iron led to social changes in Britain. Deposits of iron ore were located in different places to the tin and copper ore necessary to make bronze, and as a result trading patterns shifted and the old elites lost their economic and social status. Power passed into the hands of a new group of people.[5] Archaeologist Barry Cunliffe believes that population increase still played a role and has stated "[the forts] provided defensive possibilities for the community at those times when the stress [of an increasing population] burst out into open warfare. But I wouldn't see them as having been built because there was a state of war. They would be functional as defensive strongholds when there were tensions and undoubtedly some of them were attacked and destroyed, but this was not the only, or even the most significant, factor in their construction".[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Kingsdown Camp". National Monuments Record. English Heritage. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "Kingsdown Camp, Mells Down, Mells". Somerset Historic Environment Record. South West Heritage Trust. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Adkins L and R, 1992. A Field Guide to Somerset Archaeology. page 79
  4. ^ Payne, Andrew; Corney, Mark; Cunliffe, Barry (2007), The Wessex Hillforts Project: Extensive Survey of Hillfort Interiors in Central Southern England, English Heritage, p. 1, ISBN 978-1-873592-85-4 
  5. ^ Sharples, Niall M (1991), English Heritage Book of Maiden Castle, London: B. T. Batsford, pp. 71–72, ISBN 0-7134-6083-0 
  6. ^ Time Team: Swords, skulls and strongholds, Channel 4, 2008-05-19, retrieved 16 September 2009 

Further reading[edit]

  • Burrows I, 1981. Hillforts and Hilltop Settlements of Somerset.