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Excavations at the Dorsey Embankment

Excavations at the Dorsey Embankment
Date: 06/06/2012

The Dorsey (H 9521 1923) is an important earthwork of Iron Age date. It is a scheduled monument (SMR: ARM:28:8) consisting of a number of sections of ditch and bank on two ridges, east and west of a central wetland area. The surviving ramparts make an irregular, trapezoid shaped, interrupted enclosure (Figure 1). Piling has been found through the wetland area, apparently linking some of the sections of earthen embankment (Tempest 1930, 197-8). The size of the embankments varies. It is greatest at the South Gate, close to the excavation site and at the south-west corner. The northern embankments are much smaller. In a number of areas sections of embankment which are not traceable today were formerly traceable (Tempest 1930, 199). The function of the Dorsey is still a matter of debate. It has been suggested that it was a defensive enclosure related to the Black Pig’s Dyke (Davies, 1940b). It has also been suggested however that it was actually composed of two lines of linear embankment and was not an enclosure at all (Lynn, 1989). In addition there has been speculation as to a possible ritual function for the monument (Aitchinson, 1993).

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