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Chanctonbury Ring is a prehistoric hill fort on top Chanctonbury Hill on the South Downs A ridgeway, now part of the South Downs Way, runs along the hill. It forms part of an ensemble of associated historical features created over a span of more than 2,000 years
Consisting of a roughly circular low earthen rampart surrounded by a ditch, Chanctonbury Ring is thought to date to the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age. The purpose of the structure is unknown but it could have filled a variety of roles, including a defensive position, a cattle enclosure or even a religious shrine. After a few centuries of usage, it was abandoned for about five hundred years until it was reoccupied during the Roman period. Two Romano-British temples were built in the hill fort’s interior, one of which may have been dedicated to a boar cult.
After its final abandonment around the late fourth century AD, the hill fort remained unoccupied save for grazing cattle until a mid-18th century landowner planted a ring of beech trees around its perimeter to beautify the site.
They became a famous local landmark until largely being destroyed in the Great Storm of 1987.
Periodic replanting on a number of occasions to replace old or destroyed trees has afforded archaeologists the opportunity to carry out a series of excavations which have revealed much about the history of the site.