Ambresbury Banks is an Iron Age Hill Fort in Epping Forest NE London and built around 500 BC.
The forts earthworks cover 9 acres and would originally have been 3 metres high with outer ditches dug to a depth of also 3 metres. They would have been built by hand and wooden or bone tools used to scrape the soil.
Built at one of the highest points in Epping Forest, the camp would have had strategic views that has led to the theory of being a look-out post for the Tinovantes in defence against their neighbors, the Catuvellauni.
The most accepted theory is that they were used as animal folds in times of attack from other tribes.
A recutting of the forts ditches in the first century AD may represent re-occupuation in the pre-conquest years, however, no later occupation has been noted from later dates.
Archaeologists have explored the site on 9 occasions, the first being in 1881 by Augustus Pitt-Rivers (Britain’s first Inspector of Ancient Monuments – charged with cataloguing archaeological sites and protecting them from destruction).
The area within and around the fort is now completely wooded, but in the Iron Age period it would have been cleared of trees to enable a better field of view and for agriculture. (Suggested by evidence of Wild Service trees which are an indicator of regrown forest).
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