Pilsdon Pen is in west Dorset, very close to the Devon border, some 6 miles north-west of Bridport, and about 5½ miles from the nearest point of the coast (ST 413013). It is a long flat-topped hill, the highest in Dorset, reaching 908 ft above OD, and dominating Marshwood Vale from the north. The hill-fort occupies the south-east end of the Pen, at the north-west end of which there is a small embanked enclosure, much levelled by ploughing, which could be of Iron Age date also. The two nearest hill-forts are Lambert's Castle and Coneys Castle, about 3 and 3½ miles away respectively, which overlook Marshwood Vale from the west (fig. 1).
Excavation began in 1964, and continued annually until 1971, all but one of the seasons lasting four weeks. The work was initiated, and largely supported, by the owner of the site, Mr Michael Pinney, of Bettiscombe Manor, to whom archaeology owes a great debt. Mrs Betty Pinney was one of our most skilful excavators, and all those who took part will remember her hospitality. Financial help was also given by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society and by Birmingham University. Among many helpers, to all of whom I am most grateful, I should like to mention in particular my wife, who shouldered the daunting task of keeping the camp supplied, and Mr Jack Wells, of Tanyard Farm, Marshwood, without whose regular assistance the excavation would have taken much longer, and cost a great deal more.