The hillfort at Ham Hill is the largest in the UK, with almost 3 miles of ramparts enclosing 88 hectares. 'Hillfort' is a bit of a misnomer, in that although on hills they are not forts in the wild west tradition and not really for purely of a defensive function. They were probably for status, foci for the community or ritual and market complexes. Ham Hill is protected by English Heritage, who gave consent for the quarry extension to enable the supply of ham stone required for the conservation of the regions historic buildings.
|Ham Hill & excavation area|
|Main excavation area with main enclosure|
The trenches cut through the ramparts show that at least four phases of construction can be seen. Each phase was constructed differently, using either dumps of soil or large revetment walls of ham stone. Domestic waste was dumped against the ramparts. The final rampart was at least 4m high. Roman pottery and a projectile point mark the final use of the rampart.
This years work is to find out if the southern rampart is of similar construction to the north and to extend investigations into the northwest where a possible unknown entrance may be found, as the rampart here was sealed by up to 1m of quarry rubble.
Pictures of the main excavation:
|Senior Archaeologist Hayley introducing the site to DD members|
|Hayley showing members a grain pit|
|Digger showing a very nice section across the enclosure ditch|
|A very rare find of an I/A articulated skeleton|
|Find process hut|
Pictures of the rampart excavation:
|Cutting through the rampart|
|DD members being shown the dig at the rampart|
|The slope of the rampart beyond the dig|
Thanks to Hayley for showing us around, DD members found it very interesting. This is last phase of digging on Ham Hill and it was an insight into a very rare event - a dig on a hillfort.