Ancient Wessex News and Information
Ancient Wessex News and Information

Danebury Iron Age Hill Fort

Danebury Iron Age hill fort is located in Hampshire, England, north-west of Winchester. ‘Iron Age’ is the period between the end of the Bronze Age and the start of the Roman period (700BC – AD43).

The site, covering approx. 12 acres was purchased by Hampshire County Council in 1958. Danebury Hill, on top of which the hill fort sits, rises to 143 m (469 ft). The site is easily accessed via signposted footpaths.

Danebury Iron Age Hill FortDanebury is said to be one of the most studied hillforts in Europe. Evidence found suggests that the Fort was built 2500 years ago, in the 6th century BC, and occupied for nearly 500 years. In the late 1960s, Barry Cunliffe decided to examine a single hill fort and its surrounding territory in an attempt to throw light on Iron Age society, its politics, and population. Archaeological excavations began in 1969 and continued until 1988. Over the twenty seasons archaeologists spent examining the site, they looked at the defences and the gateway, and excavated 57% of the interior, where the remains of wattle and timber houses were discovered. It was the lengthiest investigation of any hill fort in western Europe.

The first stage of the construction of the hillfort was to dig a ditch and using this earth to build a rampart. When first constructed, there would have been a timber wall at the front of the rampart. Once the timbers had rotted however, there would have been a continuous slope or ‘glacis’ from the top of the bank to the bottom of the ditch. At least 50 years after the rampart was first built, it was raised with the addition of more chalk material; this has been interpreted as maintenance work due to the ramparts beginning to collapse as the timber box started to rot.

Danebury was abandoned around 100 BC.

The Museum of the Iron Age in Andover tells the story of Danebury hill fort which lies to the south west of the town. The museum uses real objects from Danebury alongside life size models, reconstructions and dioramas to bring the Iron Age to life.The Museum of the Iron Age 6 Church Close SP10 1DP. Tel 0845 603 5635. Website:

Video: Construction of a plank built round house based on CS1 from Danebury hillfort, excavated by Prof Barry Cunnliff

Nearest Town: Stockbridge Nearest Village: Nether Wallop
Map Ref: SU323377 Landranger Map Number: 185
Latitude: 51.137665N Longitude: 1.539711W

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