Here is one of the finest Iron Age fortified villages in the country, and the largest Iron Age fortress in Europe, built on what is believed to have been a much earlier causewayed camp, as below the ramparts there have been Neolithic defences discovered.
The castle which lies about two miles to the south of Dorchester, had been expanded by the Celts and towers added on the ramparts and steep banks built below, and Mai Dun as it was called had ramparts that reached to a height of 60 feet but they fond it too low when fighting against the Roman Second Legion under their commander Vespasian defeated the Durotriges during the Ist century.
The Romans found that after using the site for a temporary outpost they founded the town of Durnovaria which today is known as Dorchester and they moved out and the castle was never again occupied in the 2,000 years since.
Maiden Castle was sited in an ideal location, on the top of a hill on an open Down and the sentries could spot anyone approaching miles away. The River Frome at Dorchester supplied the water and cattle and other domestic animals were grazed on this open grassland and used for food.
It was here in the 20th century that a communications centre was constructed and the huge Marconi Beam Station pylons here sent messages all around the world.
IMAGES OF MAIDEN CASTLE
The banks of the fort enclose an area the size of 50 football pitches and would have housed around 200 families. It was in the 1930s that the castle was first excavated and again in the 1980s it provided import informatio about life in these communities as well as proof of British resistance to the Roman invasion in AD43. As well as this it supports theories that long term tribal rivalries prevented the Britons from uniting in their own defence.
During excavations two temples had been discovered in the fort but nobody knows who these temples were dedicated to.