Site of Disproved Iron Age Hillfort at Oversley Castle

Description of this historic site

The possible site of an Iron Age Hillfort. It is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs. Excavations have now proven that this was actually the outer enclosure of Boteler's Castle and Medieval not Iron Age in date. The area lies to the east of Oversley Castle.

Notes about this historic site

1 A broad band of negative crop mark to the E of the castle may suggest the rampart of a hillfort. It is extensive in area, although not complete, and is bisected by Roman Ryknild Street which is at this point a hollow or cutting implying later construction than the rampart.
2 Air photographs indicate most of the circumference of a ditched and banked enclosure of about 7 hectares to the E of the Medieval castle. It is unlikely that this is a bailey of the castle as it is too large in area and other crop marks on the site appear to represent a bailey. It is possible that this is a hillfort of Iron Age date. If so the Medieval castle was built over and obscured the W part of the Iron Age hillfort. The potential hillfort has been largely flattened by cultivation.
4 Chatwin believed that the E and N section of the rampart represented a road running up to the Medieval castle, but this now seems unlikely.
5 Part of the area of the possible hillfort is scheduled as Warwickshire Monument No 74.
6 A section of ditch excavated in 1992 determined that it was initially constructed during the Iron Age (proven wrong later). There was no sign of an internal bank which would normally be expected with this type of defensive site.
7 A section was excavated through the ditch of the ‘hillfort’ during an evaluation in 1993 (PRN 6417). The excavations proved that the enclosure was associated with the castle, putting to rest the idea that this site is an Iron Age hillfort. The evidence suggest that it was the outer bailey to the castle.
8 Plan of hillfort.
9 One firm conclusion of the excavations was that the outer enclosure did not originate as an Iron Age hillfort as had been suggested. The excavations produced no Iron Age material from the enclosure, and all the earlier ‘Iron Age’ finds have now been redated as Medieval.

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