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Beacon Ring Excavations


Plan showing trench locations.

This summer archaeologists are excavating at Beacon Ring, an Iron Age hillfort on the Long Mountain near Welshpool. These will be the first excavations on this site.

The hillfort is owned by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, and the project is generously funded by Cadw.

You can find out more about the site here.

What do we hope to find?

The excavations in 2018 are intended to learn more about the nature of the threat presented by the woodland, as well as understanding more about the history and development of the monument itself. We will be excavating five trenches.

Richard and his strimmer in action.

Trench 1 will examine the rampart and ditch on the eastern side of the hillfort. This will provide an understanding of how the beech trees are affecting the interior, and how root damage and historic vegetation growth may have impacted on the rampart itself. This trench will also provide an opportunity to confirm the results of the auger survey, which suggested that the rampart and ditch may have been rebuilt at some time.

Trench 2 will look at the southern entrance. Again this will enable better understanding of the impact of the trees on the interior and ramparts. It could also help answer some long-standing questions about the size and form of the entrance. It is unusually wide, and the ends of the ramparts on either side are not aligned. It has been speculated that the entrance at Beacon Ring may have been modified to accommodate some sort of gate house.

Trenches 3 and 5 will look at the township boundary earthwork. This could be medieval in origin. It may have preserved an earlier ground surface beneath it, which could provide some evidence for the environment at Beacon Ring at that time. Trench 3 will investigate the earthwork in the entrance, and Trench 5 will see how well it has survived in the woodland.

Trenches 4 and 6 will examine the impact of the trees on the interior of the hillfort.

The dig diary will be updated as the project progresses, so do check in throughout the week.

We welcome visitors on foot at all times (Beacon Ring is on the Offa's Dyke Path) and we are having Open Days with a minibus provided from Welshpool train station on the Sunday and Monday of August Bank Holiday weekend. More details of that to follow.

Dig Diary

Week 1 - 1-10 August

Excavations in Trench 2, with a fabulous view of the Severn Valley.

The first week has been mainly spent opening up the main excavation areas at Trenches 1, 2 and 3. After clearing vegetation, we removed the turf and topsoil and began investigations.

Removing the topsoil on the rampart.

Most of our time has been spent on Trench 1, which has required clearing a large area of topsoil. However we are now down to the main core of the rampart, which is increasingly stony. On Friday tantalising glimpses emerged of larger boulders which we hope will reveal themselves to be part of a revetment wall. Of course they won’t reveal themselves – only the hard work of the staff and volunteers will do that!

Paul Belford




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