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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. no. 138
Date assigned Wednesday, March 16, 1955
Date last amended Friday, February 4, 1994


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Promontory forts are a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it from the surrounding land. Coastal situations, using headlands defined by steep natural cliffs, are common while inland similar topographic settings defined by natural cliffs are also used. The ramparts and accompanying ditches formed the main artificial defence, but timber palisades may have been erected along the cliff edges. Access to the interior was generally provided by an entrance through the ramparts. The interior of the fort was used intensively for settlement and related activities, and evidence for timber- and stone- walled round houses can be expected, together with the remains of buildings used for storage and enclosures for animals. Promontory forts are generally Iron Age in date, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are broadly contemporary with other types of hillfort. They are regarded as settlements of high status, probably occupied on a permanent basis, and recent interpretations suggest that their construction and choice of location had as much to do with display as defence. Promontory forts are rare nationally with less than 100 recorded examples. In view of their rarity and their importance in the understanding of the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are considered nationally important. The small promontory fort south of Ballcross Farm has been partially excavated and is reasonably well-preserved, retaining substantial archaeological remains throughout. The character of the promontory as a focus for human activity for an extended period during prehistory is demonstrated by the cup-and-ring marked rocks found within the rampart. This evidence of earlier Bronze Age settlement in the area is associated with a group of Bronze Age barrows located on nearby Calton Pasture. DETAILS The monument is a small promontory fort located on a spur of Calton Hill. It includes a sub-rectangular enclosure with an internal area of 0.8ha, bounded on the west side by a steep slope and precipice which has been partially scarped. On the east side the fort is enclosed by a 2m high bank which was found, during partial excavations of the site carried out in 1952-55, to be a stone revetted box rampart. Three decorated stones, known as cup-and-ring marked rocks, were found within the structure of the revetment wall. The northernmost 20m of the rampart is flanked by an outer ditch which measures c.7m wide by 1.5m deep and has a slight counterscarp bank on the outer edge. Pottery and quern stones found during excavation date the promontory fort to the Iron Age while the cup-and-ring marked rocks indicate earlier occupation of the area in the Bronze Age. Excluded from the scheduling are the field walls and fencing crossing the monument and a number of telegraph poles with their stays, although the ground beneath these features is included. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Title: Find in Sheffield Museum - Type: FINDS - Description: Sheffield City Museum Book Reference - Author: Challis, A J and Harding, D - Title: Later Prehistory from the Trent to the Tyne - Date: 1975 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: BAR 20, Part 2 Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, J and Reeder, P - Title: Prehistoric Rock Art in the Peak District - Date: 1984 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 102 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Illustrated (pagination 42) Article Reference - Author: Preston, F L - Title: Hillforts of the Peak - Date: 1954 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 74 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Pagination 1-31

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1955. Scheduling Notification: Promontory fort south of Ballcross Farm. List entry no. 1011430. SM Cat. no. 138.



Grid reference Centred SK 2278 6911 (120m by 132m)
Map sheet SK26NW

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Sep 6 2013 3:26PM

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