Thursday, May 19, 2016

Danebury Hillfort

From Winchester we headed toward Stoarhead, our next home and garden, but missed a turn and found ourselves on single-lane roads way out in the fields. Readjusting Garmina, our crack satnav, we made for Sarum, hoping to find larger roads. Eventually, I saw a sign for Danbury Hillfort, and we decided to call it a night, way out in the boonies, at a quiet lay-by just short of the ancient site. In 2009 and in 2013, we always had good wild-camping luck with archaeological sites. They and their carparks are generally deserted, except for the really big ones, and certainly so after dark.
Next morning we drove up to the site; which turned out to be
anything but deserted on a fine Sunday morning

Thus; cleverly camoflouged as a forested hill

Just east of The Wallops, Over Wallop, Middle Wallop,
and Nether Wallop; Wallop itself was destroyed by
bombardment in the Civil War; hence the origin of the
expression "walloped"

The view from atop Danebury Hillfort

The site is amply explained in a variety of signs, provided by
the Hampshire County Council; Danebury was excavated
extensively by Oxford archaeologists in the 70s and 80s; the
gist is that it is Iron Age, built about 500 BC, occupied
continuously by some 300-400 people for 400-500 years, then
abandoned; Britain has more than a thousand such hillforts;
seven other hillforts can be seen (by the experienced eye) from

Good view of the ditch and rampart that surround the site; even
after a couple thousand years' erosion, in a very wet and windy
climate, the rampart is often 20-30 feet above the ditch

Walking the rampart, which encloses about 5 hectares


A bit of the double gate entrance scheme; if invaders get through
the initial gate, they enter a killing field; among the artifacts
found were a hoard of 11,000 sling stones; also 180,000 pottery
shards...we always wonder who got to count the pottery shards
and how accurate the count actually was...

One of the Wallops

Round enclosure marking the site of

One of the round houses, used for human habitation; the
inhabitants farmed and raised sheep and cattle; and traded
"Keep Calm..." merchandise

No word as to whether they enjoyed escargots, which are found
all over the area; personally, I believe the escargots came over
only after 1066 AD; WRONG! I later remembered that the Romans
(no doubt Gallic Romans) brought the snails over with them; see

They are nevertheless part of the Hampshire County Council

Another view of the formidable ditch and rampart system

A path leading into the enclosure...note the tiny
white daisy-like flowers...they grow only on the
established paths


The upper carpark, space for 30 or so cars, was full throughout
the day, many of the visitors dog-walkers

But also many family outings, picnics, kite-flyings, and other

One wonders how much thought is given to the place and to
one's ancestors, however distant

No comments: