|Hunsbury Hill Vitrified Fort by Heptangle
Early last year a new survey to asses the condition of Hunsbury Hill Iron age Fort was undertaken, the results of which now prove that this is no ordinary fort as some might of first thought…
According to the new survey, the first ramparts were built between 7,000 – 4,000 BC as a box shaped structure made of wood and supported by further timberwork. The fort was possibly occupied at the time by the Neolithic farmers who tended the surrounding grassland areas.
During the later Iron Age period of between 3,000 – 2,000 BC the fort and the internal banks were rebuilt into a simpler, circular structure of banks and ditches. Some resources, such as the new local council display boards and those at the local museum indicate that the fort was perhaps occupied by a Celtic King or Chieftain, other Nobles, Priests and highly talented craftspeople who were expert in metal crafts, pottery, carpentry & agriculture. The findings of crafts unearthed during previous excavations can be seen on display on the top floor of the Northampton museum. Further information on the latest excavations and various scientific readings of the fort can be found on the Northamptonshire Archaeological Societies web site.
The fascinating conclusion of the survey found that the entire circumference of the internal rampart appears to have been purposely burnt at an intense heat and vitrified during the Iron Age phase. This makes Hunsbury Hill Fort 'pretty' unique because many other known vitrified forts like this are found mostly in Scotland.
Sadly the 2004 survey found that the site is not in good condition and the ramparts in the Northern area are very badly eroded. This is mostly down to the resident rabbits burrow damage and allegedly from the roots of the now guardian trees and shrubbery. Although it could also be argued that this may not be the case and that the mighty Oak and Ash trees that grow around the ring in fact actually do an awesome job of protecting the site from severe weather erosion, such as, the battering high winds and torrential rains typical of this area.
Tragically too, many joy ridden abandoned vehicles are vitrified around the park on regular basis, which causes more damage to the already fragile ramparts and surrounding vegetation. However highly effective and dedicated local groups, the local college and the Council have recently done a fantastic job of improving the park in various ways, such as, rebuilding the ancient hedgerows and towing away the molten debris of the frequently burnt automobiles, making the park a much more pleasant environment of late.
One word of warning though! Don't leave anything of value in your car should you visit the centre, as the entire area is 'ringed' by a gang of theives.
Posted by heptangle
1st February 2005ce
Edited 13th January 2007ce