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Hod Hill (or Hodd Hill) is a large hill fort in the Blackmore Vale, north-west of Blandford Forummarker, Dorsetmarker, England. The fort sits on a chalk hill that is detached from the Dorset Downsmarker and Cranborne Chasemarker. The hill fort at Hambledon Hillmarker is just to the north.

The fort is roughly rectangular ( ), with an enclosed area of . There is a steep natural slope down to the River Stour to the west, the other sides have an artificial rampart, ditch and counterscarp (outer bank), with an additional rampart on the north side. The main entrance is at the south-east corner, with other openings at the south-west and north-east corners.

The hill was fortified by the Celtic Durotriges in the Iron Age. Radiocarbon analysis suggests a date of 500 BC for the main rampart. There is extensive evidence of settlement within the fort, including platforms for roundhouse huts.

The hill was captured in AD 43 by the Roman Second Legion , led by Vespasian, who had already captured Maiden Castlemarker and other hill forts to the south. Eleven iron ballista bolts have been found on the hill, clustered in the so-called "Chieftain's hut" area (two hut circles, one of which had an enclosure around it) but there are no other signs of a struggle, suggesting the Durotriges surrendered to the superior Roman army.

The Romans built a camp ( ) in the north-west corner of the original fort, occupied by a mixed force of 720 legionaries and auxiliaries. The fort was used as a base for about 5 or 6 years, but passed out of use by about AD 50, when troops were withdrawn for the campaigns against Caractacus in Walesmarker, and the remaining men were moved to a new fort further west at Waddon Hillmarker.

The site was excavated in the 1950s by Sir Ian Richmond and his final report was published in 1969.

Today the hill is an important calcareous grassland habitat.

Notes

  1. Miles 1978: 69
  2. Miles 1978: 67


Sources

  • Castles from the air, Roly Smith (2000), in The Guardian.
  • The Making Of The Dorset Landscape, Christopher Taylor, Hodder & Stoughton (London 1970).
  • Dorset and the Second Legion, Norman Field (1992), ISBN 1-871164-11-7.
  • Contains a hand-drawn, plan-view illustration of the site on page 67.


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