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Learning more about Beacon Ring and its landscape

CPAT 83-c-0452.jpg We are hoping that this venture will provide opportunities for learning much more about Beacon Ring and its landscape and about the conservation and management of other similar archaeological sites. Following is a list of some potential research objectives that it may be possible to address in the coming years.

What the site was like
The form and structure of the hillfort. The construction, phasing and dimensions of the defences. The types of buildings and structures were built inside it and the kinds of materials used.

Condition and state of preservation of the site
The state of preservation of different parts of the monument. The effects of natural weathering and erosion. The impact of former agricultural activity. The impact of forestry plantation from the planting process and subsequent root activity. The impact of animal activity. The nature of soils and the survival of stratified deposits, the presence of waterlogged deposits, soil acidity and its impact upon the survival of artefacts and environmental data.

Social and economic history
When the hillfort was built and what came before, its phases of occupation and later uses. The domestic, industrial and economic activities which took place inside and outside the hillfort. Trading and economic links further afield. Evidence for social structure, evidence for planning and social organisation, the number of inhabitants. The size of workforce needed to construct the defences over what period of time. The length of occupation and whether it was occupied continuously or intermittently, what its purposes were. Evidence for growth, changes over time, abandonment and decay.

Landscape context
The landscape context of the monument. The hillfort’s ‘territory’ and its relationship to other neighbouring sites in space and time. The nature of the local environmental and vegetation history and the impact of the settlement on its surroundings. Ancient routes to the hillfort. Physical relationships with external boundaries and land use.

Historical and cultural associations
Historical, literary and artistic associations. Place-name history.

Later activity and land use
Later agricultural history. History of possible beacon. Plantation commemorating coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Oral history.

Recording and monitoring
Recording and monitoring the process of land use change from its present wooded state. The processes involved and the physical effects upon the monument and the natural environment.

Public perception
The benefit to the public of the Trust’s ownership of the monument. Its role and potential role in meeting education and outreach objectives. The effect of land use changes on the monuments amenity value. People's attitudes to the land use changes.

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