Welcome to Dorset Allsorts

We'll be posting a variety of facts and photos of whatever takes our fancy as we wander around Dorset. They may be of churches, buildings, visitor attractions or natural scenes – in fact there will be all sorts! We hope they will give you a glimpse of some of the sights this beautiful county has to offer.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Maiden Castle

Maiden Castle is considered to be one of the greatest prehistoric forts in Europe, enclosing an area of around 47 acres and with massive triple ramparts over 18m (60ft) high. 

It's a popular place for walkers and visitors and offers great views of the surrounding countryside. 

Taking its name from the Celtic 'Maidun', the big hill, it's hard not to be awed by the massive amount of effort that must have gone into creating the fort.


The first hill fort on this site was built in neolithic (New Stone Age) times but, following its desertion by the Neolothic people, was then left dormant for 1000 years until it was re-occupied by Iron Age (Celtic) peoples. 

They expanded the site, building ditches and ramparts as defences. 

Within the defences, it is believed a settlement of about 4000-5000 people grew up.  It was the headquarters of the Durotriges tribe, who fought a bloody battle here in AD 69 against the Roman invaders.

After the Roman victory, the fort declined and was superseded by the new Roman town of Durnovaria (Dorchester) which is situated nearby.  The Romans built a temple on the site to celebrate their victory, the foundations of which can still be seen.

Some of the finds from the hill fort can be seen in the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester, but if you keep your eyes open whilst walking around Maiden Castle you may even spot something yourself.  Karen is the proud owner of a very worn Roman coin found on a long-ago school trip to the site!

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