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Shropshire hillfort dig reveals historical secrets

By Sue Austin | News | Published:

An archaeological dig on a Shropshire hillfort is discovering just how iron-age man make the huge ramparts that surrounded the fort.

Professor Gary Arch from Oxford university and Dr Paul Reilly from Southampton University

Experts are spending two weeks at Nesscliffe Hillfort in the first of what it set to be a three year exploration of the ancient monument.

They are holding a special open day there next week but in the meantime have put out an appeal for anyone who was involved in the last dig on the hill, in the 1950s, to get in touch.

The excavations more than half a century ago were carried out by staff and pupils of the Priory School for Boys, Shrewsbury under the watchfull eye of staff C.R. Hume and G.W. Jones.

Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at Oxford University and co-director of the excavation, Gary Lock, said they would very much like to hear from anyone who was involved in those excavations or knows anything about them.

"They could come up and visit us us on site until August 30, but not on Saturday, or contact me at gary.lock@arch.ox.ac.uk, or 07971 782788," he said.

The small excavations in the 1950’s were carried out within the western enclosure showing evidence for the ramparts being constructed of stone and also for activity there in the Roman period.

"We have re-opened the trench that they dug then and have also started a new trench."

Exciting

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The project is a partnership between Shropshire Council’s outdoor partnerships and natural and historic environment teams with Southampton and Oxford Universities.

"We are hoping that this excavation will help explain how Nesscliffe Hillfort was built and used. It is an important and exciting project and we welcome members of the public to come and see what we are doing.”

"This year we have 11 very skilled amateur archaeologists undertaking the work but we hope that next year will will be able to involve community volunteers," Mr Lock said.

"It is mind-boggling to think that the people that constructed this huge ramparts, eight metres wide, did so with only very basic tools. We have discovered that the front and back of the ramparts are dry stone walls with boulders and rocks int he middle."

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Nesscliffe Hillfort is managed and maintained by Shropshire Council and Mr Lock said the dig was indebted to the council's archaeologist and woodlands officer.

"This is part of a larger project for the future of Nesscliffe Hill."

"There will be a chance to visit the dig on August 28 where people can witness thousands of years of Shropshire history being discovered.

There will also be opportunities to speak with the dig team to learn more about the discoveries, the site and the importance of this project, from 8.30am-5.30pm.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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