First hillfort dig in Shropshire for 40 years

By Sue Austin | Oswestry | News | Published:

An archaeological dig is set to take place at Nesscliffe Hillfort, believed to be the first of a hillfort in Shropshire for 40 years.

An aerial view of Nesscliffe Hill

It follows several years of habitat management, site protection measures, photographic analysis and geophysical surveys.

Archaeological test pits were also dug and revealed signs of possible iron age roundhouses and also fragments of Roman pottery.

The hillfort is thought to date back to 500BC.

Experts say the aim of the dig is to help improve site interpretation for visitors and support the future management of Nesscliffe Hillfort.

Clare Fildes, interim head of culture and heritage at Shropshire Council, said: “This is a hugely exciting project and follows the successful archaeological dig that recently took place at Shrewsbury Castle.

“It is important from both a management and visitor point of view that we work to better understand the history of our country parks and heritage sites like Nesscliffe Hillfort so we can preserve them and make them the best possible destinations for people to enjoy."

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

Gary Lock, emeritus professor of archaeology at Oxford University and co-director of the excavation, said: “Hillforts are one of the most impressive types of archaeological sites and yet are poorly understood. "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.”


The dig has been funded with grants from The Prehistoric Society, The Robert Kiln Trust, The Society of Antiquaries and the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society.

Nesscliffe Hill Camp is thought to have had two conjoined enclosures, of seemingly differing dates, built against the sheer cliffs at the north-western end of the hill.

In its original form the hillfort appears to have consisted of a single enclosure encompassing the summit of the hill, now known as Oliver’s Point.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

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


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