Our highly successful second dig is now over – trenches filled in and
turf replaced thanks to our hardworking volunteers and the staff of Herefordshire Archaeology. As in our previous excavations, we uncovered pottery, bone, charcoal, and fire-cracked stone. The most exciting find, however, was evidence of a round building
approximately 7 meters in diameter. According to Herefordshire Archaeology and English Heritage, it’s the only round building to be found in an Iron Age hill fort in Herefordshire. Other round structures have been located elsewhere, but they are not in hill forts. Previous finds at other hill forts have revealed post holes set out in a square, but none have had the undisturbed round stone outline found at Eaton Camp. Even Credenhill, Croft Ambry, and Sutton Walls have not produced a structure like ours. And, in the middle of the building, we found a large piece of frothy metal indicating that metal working was most likely going on inside the structure.
We also found a long-lost rampart on the “nose” or tip of the triangular monument that would have been highly visible from the River Wye and opposite shore. Finally, we located what we think is a ceremonial shaft. It appears similar to ones found at other Iron Age sites that were found to contain layers of apparent ritual deposits. We weren’t able to dig past the large stones covering the shaft because of Health and Safety regulations that would have required additional time and money to shore up the sides and build a roof over it to keep out rain. That’s for a future excavation, if we manage it. But with this season’s finds, Eaton Camp has revealed itself once again to be one of the most important hill forts in Herefordshire, if not the West Midlands.
If you’d like to learn more and to see Eaton Camp in person, why not join us for the Third Annual Eaton Camp Guided Walk? It’s part of the Council for British Archaeology’s 2013 Festival of Archaeology, and is conducted with the kind permission of The National Trust, part owner of Eaton Camp. The walk starts from the Eaton Bishop Village Hall at 2:00pm on Sunday, 14th July. See “Eaton Camp” on the Archaeology Festival website, archaeologyfestival.org.uk, for directions. Dr. Keith Ray, Herefordshire County Archaeologist, will be the guide. (No dogs, please, as there are grazing animals). On return to the hall, there will be an exhibit of finds and artefacts from our dig and light refreshment will be available. Proceeds from the tea and coffee will go to support the Eaton Camp Historical Society, a registered charity.