On 24th October the Eaton Camp Historical Society held a public meeting to celebrate the completion of initial excavations at Eaton Camp and to share the results with local residents, volunteers, and visitors from other Community Archaeology projects. The evening was well attended by 52 people, including Tony Fleming, English Heritage Monument Inspector for the area.
Peter Dorling, Project Supervisor from Herefordshire Archaeology, presented the findings. He noted that Eaton Camp was a particularly valuable site because the archaeology was undisturbed even after a long period of cultivation and animal husbandry. This is somewhat unusual for Herefordshire with its history of farming from Neolithic times.
Peter noted that the earthworks explored in Trench 1 appeared to be earlier than the contents of Trench 2. Few artifacts were obtained from the Trench 1 excavation, but there was an interesting decorated slate object. It is currently being conserved.
Trench 2 was much more productive in terms of artifacts. Peter described pottery finds with four different fabrics or inclusions. Most of the pieces were considered Malvernian Ware, typical of the Middle Iron Age. There were several pieces that might possibly have been residual from the Early Iron Age. There was also briquetage or a pottery salt container from the Droitwich area and a small crucible. In addition to pottery, animal bone, teeth, a metal object and a slate object ( possibly jewelry) were also found.
Carbon14 dating of charcoal samples gave a wide range of dates from around 700BC to 400BC, but most were consistent with the Middle Iron age dates of the pottery. The wide range may be due to a phenomenon called the first millenium BC radiocarbon plateau, a function of process and calculations which limits the preciseness of results falling within this period more than others.
While trial excavations were limited to two areas within Eaton Camp, it appears that the monument has potential to produce additional finds and information. Initial work has established that Eaton Camp is an important part of Herefordshire’s Iron Age heritage.
The Eaton Camp Project is now in the development phase for its Conservation Management Plan. Peter Dorling and Caroline Hanks, ECHS Vice-Chairman are the leads for this work. The National Trust, English Heritage, and local landowners are being consulted The Plan will identify environmental issues, detail potential barriers and solutions, suggest the parties who should take responsibility for or be involved in the solutions, and provide a recommended time frame. The adopted Plan will be available on the Herefordshire Sites and Monuments Record, and a summary can be obtained by contacting Nancy Saldana at Saldana100@aol.com
Submitted by Nancy Saldana