Excavations have just begun in Britain's main Iron Age town, Ham Hill, Somerset's hill fort, intended to give a deeper insight into the lives of the land's inhabitants 2,000 years ago.
Despite being four times the size of any other city at that time in Britain, researchers are still unclear when the site was built or what its function was, and thus several historians are working on excavating the site.
Ham Hill dominates the landscape a few miles west of Yeovil, spanning an area of 80 hectares. But archaeologists say its magnitude represents a historical enigma as no Iron Age society could have brought together the number of people needed to defend such a large site.
While it is unlikely that it functioned as a useful fortress, no one has been able to explain what it was used for. Now researchers (a collaboration between the Universities of Cambridge and Cardiff), work has started to find out a little more about it
Sharples Niall, from the Cardiff School of History, Archeology and Religion, stated that “it is a great enigma. Ham Hill is so big that no archaeologist has really been able to get any interesting facts about it”. “As a result, a campaign as exhaustive as now has never been carried out and therefore no one knows how it was organized inside.”.
«Everyone thinks of these places as defensive structures, but it is inconceivable that this site could be defended by thousands of people trained militarily as it would be necessary.”.
“It is clear that this was a special place for the people of the Iron Age, but when did it become special? Why? How long was it?”, He concluded.
Regardless, establishing how the site worked is still a difficult task. Researchers believe that it may have been a monument and is somehow understood as a place to create a sense of community, collective identity or prestige, but until the work is complete, we will not know.
Source: Press Association
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