Maiden Castle Hill Fort Maximum Card
Stamp: Maiden Castle hill fort £1.05, issued 17 January 2017
Card: Maiden Castle from the Air - Dorset, Atmosphere Postcards 441a
Postmark: Ancient Britain, Maiden Castle, Dorchester 17.1.17
Maiden Castle Hill Fort, Iron Age – £1.05
LOCATION: Near Dorchester, Dorset, England PUBLIC ACCESS: English Heritage
The population of these islands exploded in the Bronze Age, and society became agrarian, dependent on the land and settled. Soon there was pressure placed on available land. In the Iron Age we see the development of enclosed land and hill forts, upland areas, sometimes ringed with defensive earthworks. The largest of these, such as Maiden Castle in Dorset, have huge defensive ramparts (some 5.5m high) built from around 400BC (although first peoples on the site date as far back as 3000BC). Within the enclosed area would have been storage facilities for grain and people lived in timber round houses.
A long sequence of occupation on this hilltop overlooking the River South Winterborne was revealed through excavations in 1934–37 and 1985–86. Early occupation includes a causewayed enclosure at the eastern end built around 3550 BC, a long mound along the spine of the hill built around 3400 BC and an early hill fort with a single rampart enclosing 6.4ha (nearly 16 acres) built around 600 BC. The great multivallate hill fort whose earthworks dominate the site today was built around 400 BC, enclosing 19ha (47 acres) – the largest hill fort of its type in Britain.