Iron Age hillfort to reveal its mysteries?

This is an archived press release

Wednesday 19 May 2010

17 May 2010

Iron Age hillfort to reveal its mysteries?

Dr Clive Waddington points out human thigh-bone found at Fin Cop hillfort excavation in 2009
Villagers are hoping that new excavations at the Iron Age hillfort of Fin Cop, overlooking Monsal Dale in the Peak District National Park, will reveal more about its story, following the discovery last year of a female skeleton dating from 400 to 200 BC.

Longstone Local History Group has been awarded a further £49,900 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to re-examine the site, under supervision of Bakewell-based experts Archaeological Research Services Ltd.

Ann Hall, the group’s project manager, said, “We really want to find answers to the questions posed by last year’s initial excavation. For instance, the hillfort’s defences show signs of being deliberately destroyed, and the young woman’s body was found among the ruins, with a baby. Who was she, where did she come from?”

Dr Clive Waddington, of Archaeological Research Services, said: “The site turned out to be much more complex than we anticipated. We’re aiming to understand more about when and how the fort was used and shed important new light on the early occupation of the Peak District.”

Last year, some 160 schoolchildren and 80 adult volunteers discovered hundreds of pieces of worked Mesolithic flint, chert and fragments of Iron Age pottery.

This year, young people from schools in Longstone, Bakewell, Buxton and Ashbourne are involved, and a local youth group is making a DVD.

National Park senior conservation archaeologist Sarah Whiteley, who provides support, said: “We’re very excited about this project as the fieldwork will engage local schoolchildren and bring surrounding villages together in a common cause to understand more about this iconic site.”

The excavation – on private farmland – is from July 5 – August 6, with open days each Saturday: July 10, 17, 24 and 31 (guided tours at 11am and 1pm - meet at the front car park, Monsal Head overlooking the viaduct).

Volunteer diggers are welcome, but spaces are limited. To apply, contact Jim Brightman at or 01629 814540.

A helping hand

The national park’s cultural heritage team offers support in applying for grants to save or research historic features. It can also advise on research, conservation or analysis. Call 01629 816200 and ask for the cultural heritage team.

This is an archived press release

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