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For example, Solsbury Hill was sacked and deserted during the Belgic invasions of southern Britain in the 1st century BC.

Archaeological excavation reveals more about the dates of occupation and modes of use.

They served a range of purposes and were variously tribal centres, defended places, foci of ritual activity, and places of production.

Julius Caesar described the large late Iron Age hill forts he encountered during his campaigns in Gaul as oppida.

A hillfort or hill fort is a type of earthworks used as a fortified refuge or defended settlement, located to exploit a rise in elevation for defensive advantage.

They are typically European and of the Bronze and Iron Ages. The fortification usually follows the contours of a hill, consisting of one or more lines of earthworks, with stockades or defensive walls, and external ditches.

Hill forts developed in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age, roughly the start of the first millennium BC, and were in use in many Celtic areas of central and western Europe until the Roman conquest.

The terms "hill fort", "hill-fort" and "hillfort" are all used in the archaeological literature.

Hill forts in Britain are known from the Bronze Age, but the great period of hill fort construction was during the Iron Age, between 700 BC and the Roman conquest of Britain in 43 AD.