Midsummer Hill Camp

Midsummer Hill Camp is an Iron Age hillfort located in Worcestershire, England. The ramparts enclose the hills of Midsummer and Hollybush and the valley in between. The rampart and ditch were built around 390 BC and it is thought that the settlement was occupied by 1500 people until it was destroyed by fire in AD 48.

What does the hillfort at Midsummer look like?

The hillfort at Midsummer Hill Camp covers area of about 30 acres and is of irregular form generally following the contours. Entirely surrounded by double rampart with medial ditch and slight spoil ditch within inner rampart. Two main entrances that are approached by current trackway while inner rampart one is turned inwards slightly at the gap. Second entrance is in the angle formed by a small valley. The outer rampart is gapped but the inner rampart is turned inwards on both sides. There are now three other entrances. 

Within the enclosure are still to be seen a number of rounded hollows generally about 6 metres in diameter which represent hut sites. The SE slope of the summit of Midsummer Hill is said to have a series of 11 terraces on which over 200 hut sites could be traced as late as 1875. A few of these are still visible. Immediately to the west of the north entrance is a raised platform proved on excavation to be the site of a large hut. Traces of a second platform are east of the entrance. To the SW of the main enclosure are lines of entrenchment, the Red Earls Dyke and a slight rampart towards the west. The latter has traces of ditches east of the inner side and curves around to the east at the south end. It is uncertain if this formed an outer enclosure but in 1875 40 hut sites could be traced within the area. Excavation at several points in 1924 in main enclosure. La Tene pottery. (1-15). The likelihood of pre-hillfort earthworks and earlier enclosures existing is high.

Many of the isolated depressions could be of an earlier period and any one of the terraces, particularly the higher ones may represent the line of a former enclosure on Midsummer Hill. A bank circling the main hillfort can be traced, underlying the hillfort defences. Looking at the relationship with the Shire Ditch it is suggested that the first phase is Late Bronze Age.

Finds of iron nails and potsherds by Stanford suggest the presence of small scale Romano-British or later activity within the hillfort. The kind of population proposed by Stanford (1500 to 2200 people) can only be confirmed, if based on the number of huts.

Temporary Site of Permanent Residence?

In 1999 and 2000 English Heritage surveyed the site and recorded over 483 hut platforms within the hill fort. They also concluded that as there was no evidence for internal track ways, domestic refuse and general farmyard and household activities. The site was used seasonally for large social gatherings such as fairs, markets and religious events. The hut platforms may simply mark the sites used as temporary accommodation for people and their livestock, and where market stalls operated and ritual ceremonies took place.

Excavations at Midsummer Hill Camp

Limited excavations in 1924 by I.T Hughes. Excavations from 1965 till 1970, by Stanford, were aimed at elucidating the history of the South Gate and the nature of any internal occupation.

Sites near Midsummer Hill Camp