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Hill fort hotspots in UK and Ireland mapped for first time in online atlas

For the first time, a detailed online atlas has drawn together the locations and particulars of the UK and Ireland’s hill forts and come to the conclusion that there are more than 4,000 of them, mostly dating from the iron age.

You can access this new database at
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
22nd June 2017ce
Edited 5th July 2017ce

Comments (3)

I think you could call Coflein, Canmap, HERs, TMA and the Portal and doubtless a lot of other sites, 'online atlases of hillforts'. Hardly the first time? Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
24th June 2017ce
With the help of citizen scientists from across England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, a research team funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has spent the last five-years sifting and recording information on all the hillforts across Britain and Ireland. They have discovered there are 4,147 hillforts in total, and have collated details for every one on a website that will be accessible to the public – and completely free.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
5th July 2017ce
I think there has been some attempt at reclassification. The term 'hillfort' is problematic in that some sites that fall under the banner are neither particularly 'fort' like, as in the fortification element is not particularly pronounced, and nor are they necessarily on a hill.
There are 'unenclosed settlements', 'enclosed settlements', 'hilltop enclosures' and 'hillforts'. 'What is the difference between a hilltop enclosure and a hillfort?" I hear you cry. Well, both would appear to qualify in terms of being in prominent locations (a hill) but the difference would appear to be essentially the strength of the fortification, ie hillforts have very big ditches, posts etc, whereas some 'hilltop enclosures' may only have a single ditch or be less obviously defensive.
Size matters too (of which some of us are only too aware, sadly) and some sites will not qualify as hillforts on size. Poor things. What this means for highly fortified sites that are only a couple of acres in size, I don't know, I'm not even sure such a site exists.
Add in the fact that evidence of settlement is not always found in these places, and that some sites seem to be hugely fortified but are on level ground (plateau forts) and you can easily end up with a headache.

Are you still awake?

That is my present understanding but if anybody can add anything to this in terms of clarification, that would be most helpful.
Evergreen Dazed Posted by Evergreen Dazed
1st August 2017ce
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