Archaeology and Ancient History

Nick's dissertation

Can the understanding of Iron Age peoples' perception of space help us understand the location of Burrough Hill?

nick profile imageThe motivation for the siting of hillforts is often assumed to be geographically determined, with defensive or militaristic considerations being assumed as primary locational factors. These assumptions are rarely tested and other motivations are regularly overlooked. In this paper we explore these practical considerations and examine if they are responsible for the siting of Burrough Hill, an Iron Age hillfort in Leicestershire. We then compare these results with a more phenomenological assessment of the hillfort's siting and consider how these more human perspectives may have influenced the builder's choice of site.

The results show that whilst Burrough Hill meets the practical requirements expected of a hillfort's location, these requirements do not set the site apart from other sites in the area, thus these considerations alone cannot explain the particular choice of site. However, when we also consider how Iron Age peoples would have interacted with the site and perceived its location, we find properties which mark Burrough Hill out from alternative locations. I therefore propose that it is these phenomenological considerations which account for the choice of Burrough Hill's location, and not defensive or militaristic concerns.

Back to top