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Burgh Walls Camp

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Reference no.  198387
Built  Iron Age
Burgh Walls Camp
Location  Leigh Woods, Somerset, England

Burgh Walls Camp is a multivallate Iron Age hill fort in the North Somerset district of Somerset, England. The hill fort is situated within Leigh Woods approximately 1.6 miles (2.6 km) north-east from the village of Long Ashton near Bristol, above the banks of the River Avon. The hillfort has some alternative names such as Bower Walls Camp, Burwalls, or Bowre Walls.

Burgh Walls Camp is one of three Iron Age fortifications overlooking the Avon Gorge, the others being Stokeleigh Camp and Clifton Camp on the opposite side of the gorge, on Clifton Down near the Observatory.

Background

Hill forts developed in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age, roughly the start of the first millennium BC. The reason for their emergence in Britain, and their purpose, has been a subject of debate. It has been argued that they could have been military sites constructed in response to invasion from continental Europe, sites built by invaders, or a military reaction to social tensions caused by an increasing population and consequent pressure on agriculture. The dominant view since the 1960s has been that the increasing use of iron led to social changes in Britain. Deposits of iron ore were located in different places to the tin and copper ores necessary to make bronze, and as a result trading patterns shifted and the old elites lost their economic and social status. Power passed into the hands of a new group of people. Archaeologist Barry Cunliffe believes that population increase still played a role and has stated "[the forts] provided defensive possibilities for the community at those times when the stress [of an increasing population] burst out into open warfare. But I wouldn't see them as having been built because there was a state of war. They would be functional as defensive strongholds when there were tensions and undoubtedly some of them were attacked and destroyed, but this was not the only, or even the most significant, factor in their construction".

References

Burgh Walls Camp Wikipedia


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