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The county of Dorset

News Posted: 19.5.19

Dorset derives its name from the county town of Dorchester.[2] The Romans established the settlement in the 1st century and named it Durnovariawhich was a Latinised version of a Common Brittonic word possibly meaning "place with fist-sized pebbles".[2]

The Saxons named the town Dornwaraceaster (the suffix "ceaster" being the Old English name for a Roman town) and Dornsæte came into use as the name for the inhabitants of the area from "Dorn"—a reduced form of Dornwaraceaster—and the Old English word "sæte" meaning people.[2][3] It is first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in AD 845 and in the 10th century the county's archaic name, "Dorseteschyre" (Dorsetshire), was first recorded.

The first human visitors to Dorset were Mesolithic hunters, from around 8000 BC.[5][6] The first permanent Neolithic settlers appeared around 3000 BC and were responsible for the creation of the Dorset Cursus, a 10.5-kilometre (6.5 mi) monument for ritual or ceremonial purposes.[7][8] From 2800 BC onwards Bronze Age farmers cleared Dorset's woodlands for agricultural use and Dorset's high chalk hills provided a location for numerous round barrows.[9][10] During the Iron Age, the British tribe known as the Durotriges established a series of hill forts across the county—most notably Maiden Castle which is one of the largest in Europe.[11][12]

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Tagged with: #Saxons