Oxfordshire's Historic Archives

Historic Oxfordshire

Preserving and Enhancing Access to Historic Oxfordshire
Records of Archaeological Work held by the Ashmolean Museum

Site Name: Madmarston Camp, Swalecliffe

Site Location: North West Oxfordshire
Related Achive: Manning

Madmarston Camp is an Iron Age, irregular, oval shaped contour fort, covering about 5 acres, on a smooth hill top near the village of Swalecliffe. The site slopes gently downwards from north to south, the northern slope being the steepest. The whole site has been extensively ploughed, therefore the banks and ditches are not very prominent. The site, but not the defences, were re-used in Roman times. A Roman road runs to the south of the fort, and the Romano-British settlement is to the east, near Swalecliffe Lea Farm. The Oxford University Archaeological Society excavated the defences and interior in 1957-8, no other excavations having taken place before, although the camp had been noted in various old publications. Iron Age finds included coarse hand-made pottery, pits, and agricultural remains in the form of animal bones, mostly cattle, but horse and sheep occur, no pig bones. The metal finds consisted of iron tools and wespons and a hoard of iron objects consisting of 12 currency bars, an axe head, sickle and 'poker' all under a stone floor. A few pieces of glass were found, mostly vessels, but one glass bead. Similar domestic material came from the Roman period, with late Roman wheel-thrown pottery being prominent, with a few pieces of Samian and imitation samian ware.


Plot, p34

Beesley, History of Banbury

Victoria County History of Oxfordshire, Vol II, p311

Thomas, Guide to Prehistoric England (1960), p170

Fowler, Oxoniensia, Vol XXV (1960), p 3

Sutton, Oxoniensia, Vol XXXI (1966), p28

Site Photographs

Click on picture to see a larger image
Madmarston Camp
Madmarston Camp, looking north (March 2006)
Madmarston Camp
Madmarston Camp, another view (March 2006)

Aerial Photograph

aerial view of Madmarston Camp
Madmarston Camp from air, Major Allen took this in 1933



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