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Maiden Castle, Dorchester

(4.7/5 based on 260 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
  • A fantastic earth works with wonderful history including remains of a Roman Temple. Plus fantastic views cross Dorset. Marvel at how man made this huge site and their lives. Need to visit Dorchester M...  more »
  • After years of driving along the A35 to and from the West Country, and bemoaning the absolute hideousness that is Poundbury Village- how surprised were we to find the Iron Age Hill fort of Maiden Cast...  more »
  • We'd been recommended coming here as we were staying about 15 mins walk away, and so glad that we were. It's a lovely walk (and doesn't really matter if it rains), it's so impressive and fun to explor...  more »