Overview of Chilterns Hillforts - The Chilterns AONB - of Chilterns Hillforts • The chronological framework for later prehistory ... 1150-800 BC Late Bronze Age Changes in settlement; pottery and

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  • Overview of Chilterns Hillforts

    The chronological framework for later prehistory

    Land allotment and the landscape setting of hillforts

    Hillforts as part of a distinctive archaeological signature for the Iron Age of the Chilterns?

  • 1600-1150 BC Middle Bronze Age Ending of the major phase of ritual and burial monuments; beginning of land allotment and widespread permanent settlement

    1150-800 BC Late Bronze Age Changes in settlement; pottery and metalwork; diversity of settlement types and developing settlement hierarchy; evidence of inter-regional and international exchange

    800-600 BC Earliest Iron Age Collapse of bronze manufacturing and trading networks; major phase of settlement abandonment and re-location

    600-300 BC Early Iron Age Intensification of settlement and agriculture; development of distinctive regional cultures/identities

    300-100BC Middle Iron Age

    100BC-AD50/80 Late Iron Age Re-establishment of significant international contacts with new cultures; explosion in settlement and ritual/burial evidence in Thames valley and SE England; Chilterns appears to retain some separate identity

    Chronology: the implications of Needhams great divide of 800BC and improved precision for

    radiocarbon dating of the Iron Age

  • Barrett pots: plainware 1000-800BC

    Barrett pots: decorated 800-600BC

  • The end of the Bronze Age hoarding/dumping of bronze

    The Watford Hoard

  • The Langton Matravers Hoard, Dorset

    303 new axes, high tin content, polished, too brittle to use

  • The Problem:

    lack of radiocarbon dating

    circularity of dating from pottery

    differing use of period terminology

    Leads to:

    imprecise dating for most settlements

    difficulty of identifying periods of abandonment

    poor understanding of the dynamics of settlement

  • A terminology based on Needham 2007

    1150-800 Late Bronze Age 800-600 Earliest Iron Age 850-750BC Late Bronze Age/Earliest Iron Age 1200-600BC Late Bronze Age-Earliest Iron Age 1200-300BC Late Bronze Age-Early Iron Age

  • North Hertfordshire: landscape and chronology

  • Late Bronze Age (1200-800)

    Large, apparently empty enclosure; pits, cremation burials

    Earliest Iron Age (800-500/400)


    Early Iron Age (5/400-300)

    Enclosed hamlet-sized settlement

    Middle Iron Age (300-100)

    Reduced activity

    Fairfield Park 2001-2

  • Fairfield Park radiocarbon dates

  • Excavations west of Wilbury Hill, Letchworth 2012

  • Prehistoric pasture landscapes


  • Gt. Gaddesden & the Boxted to Friars Wash Pipeline 2006

  • The Chilterns Iron Age signature?

  • Hillforts, Dykes and LBA ringworks

  • Mucking North Rings

  • Late Bronze Age ringwork, Gt. Westwood Quarry 2001

  • Whitely Hill, Royston

  • Late Bronze Age Ringworks


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