As a grove, we sometimes go to visit and celebrate at Burrough Hill, the magnificent Iron Age hillfort near Somerby, Leics.
The University of Leicester archaeology team held an open day there on 30 June to showcase the recent finds from the current archaeological dig at Burrough Hill and it was fascinating to learn more about the site. Now in its 4th year of a planned 5 year summer dig, the dig has recently uncovered some Beaker pottery which they believe date from the late Neolithic / Bronze Age, and pre-date any previous finds on the site which have previously been from the Iron Age and subsequent Roman occupation/use of the site.
Beaker pottery shards in the finds display cabinet.
The Beaker pottery was found in trench 8 which is being excavated near the viewpoint marker, which also revealed further evidence of Iron Age roundhouses and artefacts, along with further finds from the later Roman use of the site at the far end of the trench over looking the escarpment.
Trench 8 showing outline of roundhouse
Trench 9 has also revealed further evidence of Iron Age roundhouses and artefacts and a pit with a large, broken quern stone in it, several others having also been previously found on the site. There is also currently being revealed a Roman wall within this trench and a small brick built and lined structure with evidence of a fire pit at one end which the archaeologists believe may have been a corn drier.
Trench 9 showing more roundhouse evidence, roman wall and presumed ‘corn drier’
The dig continues for a few more weeks yet, so more will no doubt be revealed. Previous years’ digs have found amongst other things, the extent of round house development inside and outside the ramparts; the ridge and furrow grassland outside the ramparts and an iron age burial of a young male in the main gateway area, which is highly unusual for the time and his burial location at the gateway is presumed to be significant ritually. There have also been many pits excavated within the fort both Iron Age and Roman some empty and some used. They have found some Iron Age pits lined and capped with clay with grain inside and whilst the outer grain has sprouted and germinated the inner grain had not and seemed to have been the method by which they stored their grain.
Fascinating stuff! I also asked the archaeologist who gave us the tour about whether the hillfort was presumed to be the tribal centre of the Corieltauvi (Coritani) tribe as I’d read elsewhere before (The Corieltauvi tribal area covered most of the modern day East Midlands and is the tribe from whom our Corieltauvi Grove and our friends in the Abus Coritani have taken their name.) He said that it was certainly an important site in the main Corieltauvi tribal area, linking with other local tribe sites of significance, but that there is no direct evidence (yet) that Burrough Hill was the centre of their activity.
And especially for Luch Dorcha, there was plenty of mention by the archaeologists and the Iron Age re-enactors of your favourite C word! For those who don’t know Luch Dorcha, if you ever meet him, mention the words Celts or Celtic to him at your peril…you have been warned! 😉