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Hod Hill – Iron Age hillfort, Roman camp

Hod Hill

One of several events organised as part of Dorset Architectural Heritage Week - a guided tour around the Iron Age hillfort and Roman camp at Hod Hill, by a Roman legionary.

Although not visually as impressive as the neighbouring hillfort – Hambledon Hill, or the major hillfort south of Dorchester – Maiden Castle, Hod Hill is the largest Iron Age hillfort in Dorset in terms of enclosed area. In its north-west corner are the remains of a Roman camp, built sometime between 43AD and 51AD.

The sketch to the right shows the present day arrangement of the two banks which – with ditch inbetween – formed the Iron Age fortification. The defensive ditches added by the Romans to protect their own camp are shown in dark green. Excavations of the Roman camp have indicated that it was possibly in use for just two years before a fire broke out – destroying the buildings – and it was abandoned.

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In the top row of pictures:

  • The track from Stourpaine up to the south-east corner of Hod Hill (picture)
  • The outer bank of this bi-vallate hillfort and south-east entrance (picture)
  • The outer bank and the ditch between outer and inner bank in the south-east corner of the fort (picture)
  • A slight depression in the ground marks the site of an Iron Age hut (picture)
  • The history of the Roman occupation is explained (picture)

In the bottom row of pictures:

  • Crossing the fort to the Roman camp in the north-east corner (picture)
  • The finer details of combat at close quarters demonstrated (picture)
  • Roman centurion, 1950 years after the original invasion ! (picture)
  • The view northwards, up the Iwerne valley (picture)
  • End of the visit, the descent back to Stourpaine (picture)

Nearby locations that also feature in galleries on this site:

directionHambledon Hill

directionAckling Dyke - Roman Road

directionBlandford Forum, Badbury Rings - further Iron Age hillfort

directionSturminster Newton

More views of Dorset in September

Other sites on the web

Romans in Britain:  excellent guide to this period in British history

The Dorset Page:   Stourpaine – local information and links to further resources on the web

Maps of the area on streetmap.co.uk:   1:50,000 – detail, 1:250,000 – locality and route to get there

picture resolution
The pictures of Hod Hill in this gallery were captured at medium resolution.
This is images of dorset stock photography gallery 090
All photographs copyright © 1998–2003 John Allen

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