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Maiden Castle, Dorchester

(4.7/5 based on 240+ reviews on the web)
Maiden Castle is an Iron Age hill fort south west of Dorchester, in the English county of Dorset. Hill forts were fortified hill-top settlements constructed across Britain during the Iron Age. The name Maiden Castle may be a modern construction meaning that the hill fort looks impregnable, or it could derive from the British Celtic mai-dun, meaning a "great hill."The earliest archaeological evidence of human activity on the site consists of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure and bank barrow. In about 1800 BC, during the Bronze Age, the site was used for growing crops before being abandoned. Maiden Castle itself was built in about 600 BC; the early phase was a simple and unremarkable site, similar to many other hill forts in Britain and covering. Around 450 BC it underwent major expansion, during which the enclosed area was nearly tripled in size to 19ha, making it the largest hill fort in Britain and by some definitions the largest in Europe. At the same time, Maiden Castle's defences were made more complex with the addition of further ramparts and ditches. Around 100 BC habitation at the hill fort went into decline and became focused at the eastern end of the site. It was occupied until at least the Roman period, by which time it was in the territory of the Durotriges, a Celtic tribe.
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TripAdvisor
  • Easy to get to along a very straight road passing over the A35, the information from English Heritage is useful and gives you an idea of what the whole place was like. We were lucky in having good wea...  more »
  • This is always a great place for walk, at any time of year and regardless of the weather! It is an impressive site and never fails to astound when considering the achievements of our ancestors. 
  • This ancient man made monument is an incredible insight to the minds of those who built it. The ancient Britons defended the mound against the attacking Roman army, the most efficient fighting machine...  more »