News | Published:

Fortified Hill-top Site in Sussex

Nature volume 140, page 540 (25 September 1937) | Download Citation



A FORTIFIED hill-top site on Mount Caburn, one mile north of Glynde, near Lewes, has been partially excavated by Dr. A. E. Wilson of Brighton Grammar School with the assistance of Dr. E. Cecil Curwen. Since July, it is reported in The Times of September 14, portions of the outer and inner ramparts and a length of Iron Age road, with three gateways, have been uncovered. Of the gateways, one on the north side of the town, where the slope is comparatively easy, is of considerable size and is provided with reentrant ramparts on either side for purposes of defence. A number of sling stones were found. The steep slope of the south side was defended by ramparts and a deep ditch. There are indications in the ceramic evidence that the site was first occupied about 500 B.C., and was fortified about two hundred years later. Stratification revealed by trenching suggests two periods of reconstruction, one about 50 B.C., when the main gate was moved a few feet forward, and a second about one hundred years later, when a second gate, forming a sort of barbican, was added. Piles of ash near this gate may be, it is conjectured, either a relic of the process of hardening the ends of oak stakes to be driven into the ground, or evidence that the town was destroyed by fire. Flint kerbs mark the edges of the Iron Age roadway, of which the surface is reinforced by flints at a distance of four feet six inches apart, indicating that the gauge of the prehistoric cart was approximately the same as that of the modern cart. One of the ramparts shows what appears to be an early attempt to mix a concrete, powdered chalk apparently being mixed with water and rubble. A grant of £20 made by the Sussex Archæological Society has made it possible to continue the work of excavation until the end of October.

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