Iron Age Hill Fort, Cheshire

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Since May 2010, we have been working with professional archaeologists from Cheshire West and Chester Council, helping to record a series of digs on three of the county’s most prominent Iron Age hill forts. We had previously worked on Helby and Eddisbury but our most recent project was at Kelsborrow Castle near Northwich, which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The site had previously been investigated on two occasions, once via a dig in 1973 and later, in 1996, in the form of a limited geophysical survey. Although the surviving banks are nearly 2m high in places, recent assessments had found that the monument was sustaining erosion damage due to ploughing, livestock tracks and wheel rutting from farm vehicles, so another dig was proposed.

This took place towards the end of 2011 and its objectives were twofold. Firstly, it would seek to establish the extent of any erosion on the 2.9ha site, and secondly, archaeologists would try to identify and recover samples of charred wood from the ground associated with the site of the original ramparts. This would be carbon dated and used to provide a more accurate indication of when the site was in use.

The aerial photographs were taken with a remotely operated digital SLR camera and when the low winter sun emerged through the clouds, the ramparts cast impressive shadows that made the extent of the site very obvious. The resulting images give an excellent overview of the site as a whole and convey a very clear sense of where the three trenches were in relation to one another.

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