Location and Layout
The hillfort stands on an ironstone promontory around 660 feet (200 m) above sea level, 7 miles (11 km) south of the modern settlement of Melton Mowbray. shaped during prehistoric ice ages. The bedrock is marlstone, limestone containing iron. Although the rock contains iron, the levels are low and little attempt was made to extract it. The iron gives the limestone a distinctive hue, ranging from orange to light brown as the proportion of iron changes across the site. Surrounded by a single ditch and rampart, the hillfort is trapezoidal in shape and covers an area of around 12 acres (4.8 ha). The ramparts, constructed from stone and earth, stand 9.8 ft (3 m) above the interior of the hillfort and would originally have been higher. There is also a counterscarp 16 to 20 feet (5 to 6 m) beyond the northern rampart.
The hillfort was entered from the south-east via a gap in the ramparts turned inwards. The gatepassage extends for 148 feet (45 m) into the fort and is flanked by 6 feet 7 inches (2 m) high banks, although they were probably much higher when they were originally built. The passage would have been faced with stone. A chamber, possibly a guardhouse, 16 by 33 feet (5 by 10 m) was built into the banks. Timber posts indicate there may have been a wooden gallery above the entrance, allowing people to cross the ramparts next to the entrance. The design, with an extended gatepassage and an adjacent room, has parallels with hillforts to the north such as Eddisbury in Cheshire and The Wrekin in Shropshire. An extended entrance, as seen at Burrough Hill, was a common theme in hillfort design and served to increase the time it took to enter. There may have been a second entrance in the south-west of the site. Later activity on the site has caused breaks in the ramparts, but the remains generally survive well.
A magnetometry survey of the interior of the hillfort in 2010 revealed over 400 circular anomalies of uncertain purpose (maculae) distributed across the fort, although there were fewer around the south-east. Their size and number, as well as finds from similar features in previous excavations, suggests they may have been storage pits. The survey also discovered curved features that probably indicate the presence of roundhouses. They were grouped close to the ramparts on the north, west, and south sides. There are signs of post-medieval quarrying outside the main entrance to the fort. Outside the hillfort were more curved anomalies, suggesting roundhouses in a settlement beyond the ramparts. It was surrounded by a ditch.
Read more about this topic: Burrough Hill
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