Myncen Farm, near Cashmoor, Dorset, was the location of our campsite in 2009 and 2010. Owned by Simon Meaden, among the attractions were Simon’s interest in archaeology, stimulated in part by the presence of a number of interesting archaeological sites on his own land. Indeed, the Time Team had visited in 2003.
While we there in 2009, Simon was digging a new pond on a hill top a couple of fields away from where we were camping. The digging cut through something which Simon recognised as an archaeological feature. He immediately informed Helen, and local farmer-archaeologist Martin Green.
The pond had been cut across a ditch which, as can be seen on aerial photographs taken a few years previously, surrounds the whole hill top. The ditch was originally accompanied by a bank. On Simon’s farm, the bank has been levelled by ploughing, but along other parts of the enclosure circuit, the bank survives as an earthwork. It is remarkable that this site hadn’t been spotted before, given the amount of archaeological fieldwork that has taken place in this area.
The enclosure measures 365 metres by 165 measures, its internal area being around 5.5 hectares – it’s pretty big, in other words. The ditch itself, at the point where it was cut by the pond, is nearly 4 metres wide and 2 metres deep. No datable material was recovered, but consideration of other sites within the wider region suggest that it probably belongs somewhere in the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age (somewhere between 1000 BC and 400 BC). Details of our full published report on the site are as follows:
H Wickstead & M Barber (2010) A newly recorded hilltop enclosure at Myncen Farm, Minchington; in Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society vol 131, pp103-112.