News | Published:

Excavations at Maiden Castle

Nature volume 134, pages 244245 (18 August 1934) | Download Citation



EXCAVATIONS which have been planned to cover three year's work, have been begun on the prehistoric earthwork of Maiden Castle, near Dorchester. The responsibility for the excavation has been undertaken by the Society of Antiquaries, and the field-director is Dr. R. E. Mortimer Wheeler, of the London Museum. According to a report of the work to date which appears in the Times of August 10, it has now become evident that a building unearthed by Mr. A. Cunnington in 1882 and again brought to light by the present operations is a temple and not a villa as was at first believed. It is a Roman building which can be definitely identified as the type of temple peculiar to the Celtic regions of France, Germany and Great Britain during the Roman period. It was square in plan with a raised central shrine and a surrounding verandah. Behind the temple is a little two-roomed bungalow which probably served as the residence of the priest. Near these buildings an interesting discovery was a pit-dwelling cut into the chalk to a depth of more than 10 ft. The sides curve towards the top and originally it was covered with a lid-like roof. The floors of rammed chalk were inserted at various periods and the pit would seem to have been inhabited in the later stages of its history. By the Roman period it was filled up. In cutting through a crossbank dividing off the eastern third of the fortress, in which the temple is situated, pottery and a quern of prehistoric date have been discovered, proving that the hill was occupied as a village before Maiden Castle at its earliest stage came into existence.

About this article

Publication history





    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing