Hillforts are one of the most prominent types of prehistoric monument across many parts the British Isles and Ireland as well as being the most obvious legacy of the Iron Age period. Despite fieldwork and changing interpretations of these iconic sites they are still poorly understood in terms of documenting and analysing the variation in characteristics and form across regional and national boundaries.

The Atlas of Hillforts Project has just been awarded £950,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to try and remedy this situation. The Project will collect, collate and present data on hillforts across the UK and Ireland providing, for the first time, an integrated resource to serve research into this important monument type. It will run for four years from September 1st 2012 and has Researchers and PhD students based in both Oxford (responsible for England and Wales) and Edinburgh (responsible for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland).

The aim of the project is to produce a paper atlas and an online searchable atlas linked to Google Earth. Οther forms of dissemination and data collection such as Wikipedia are also being considered. The atlases will show distributions of various sorts of hillforts (an initial challenge is to decide ‘what is a hillfort’?) together with analysis and discussion. Part of the aim is to produce a resource that can be used by students, academics and the general public.

Call for Volunteers

The School of Archaeology – University of Oxford calls for volunteers to take part in the survey of the hillforts:

“We welcome contributions to this project from members of the public either as individuals or as part of local field groups. We very much hope this new way of gathering data will help us produce the best overview of hill- and promontory forts in Britain and Ireland that can be achieved in the timescale available to us. We regret that we are not in a position to reimburse expenses you may incur either in visiting sites, or in forwarding information to us. We shall of course acknowledge all individuals who contribute to the project in the final products, notably the online material; should you wish not to be credited in this way, please inform us so on this form and you can remain anonymous. If you send us any imagery, we shall assume that it is your copyright and that we may reproduce it with due acknowledgement but without charge, unless you advise us otherwise. A member of the project team will contact you (preferably by e-mail) if we would appreciate additional information from you. We shall attempt to respond to questions you may have but, since we cannot predict demand, we ask that you excuse us if responses are slow. Messages from us will include ‘AHFBI’ in the subject line.

At the end of the project, we will make an assessment of the three most helpful Citizen Science contributions. These contributors will be acknowledged specially on the website and the Project Directors will send each of them a copy of the paper Atlas”.

For further information visit the Hillfort Atlas website