The Heritage Lottery Fund has given the Eaton Camp Historical Society approval to use part of its remaining grant monies for additional excavations at Eaton Camp. This will enable exploration of areas of the Iron Age hill fort that previous geophysics and the 2012 dig indicate are most likely to yield significant additional information. Herefordshire Archaeology will again supervise the dig which is scheduled for 10th June – 21st June 2013, pending receipt of required licenses from English Heritage and the National Trust.
Specialist reports of 2012 finds are now complete. Radiocarbon dates of bone and charcoal confirm Eaton Camp was in use during the Middle Iron Age, somewhere around 500BC. The pottery found includes a number of storage jars with diagnostic forms and decorative motifs that also support the monument being Middle Iron Age. There is no evidence from the pottery of earlier or later activity on the site. The material used to make the jars shows that most came from the Woolhope Hills area, and a smaller number from the Martley area of Worcestershire. There were also salt containers from Droitwich near Birmingham.
Bone appraisal indicated a predominance of cattle, with evidence of pig, dog, sheep, and goat. There was also an apparent ritual deposit of human bone in association with an articulated cow ankle, something that was not unusual in a domiciliary context in the Iron Age. Plant analysis revealed evidence of hulled wheats and wild food such as acorns, hazelnuts and bramble. Although the bone and plant material from the initial Eaton Camp excavations was limited, the experts feel these finds make an important contribution to the generally limited environmental data from hillforts in Herefordshire. We hope that our 2013 excavations will reveal even more and enable archaeologists to fill in many of the gaps in their knowledge about Iron Age monuments in the West Midlands.
For more information on our 2012 excavation results, see www.herefordshire.gov.uk/htt.