This Saturday, as part of the Iron Age Open Days, Cheshire celebrates the opening of its brand new prehistoric Roundhouse at Burwardsley. The replica Iron Age Roundhouse, built by Chris Park from Acorn Education, will act as a teaching aid helping to bring archaeology to life for children.
The free event will include demonstrations of Iron Age techniques such as making fire, bread and Iron Age jewellery, with an opportunity to have a go yourself.
Round Houses were the dominant building style of late prehistoric Britain and would have been common to Cheshire throughout the Iron Age.
Archaeological remains of Iron Age round houses have been found in West Cheshire at Beeston Castle, Bruen Stapleford, Chester Business Park and even beneath the Roman Amphitheatre in Chester.
The construction of the Iron Age dwelling is just one project of many that Habitats and Hillforts is undertaking. Over a three year period, Habitats and Hillforts aim to conserve and enhance the string of six important Iron Age hillforts along the sandstone ridge Helsby, Woodhouse, Eddisbury, Kelsborrow, Beeston and Maiden Castle.
Earlier this week, “Cheshire’s oldest standing wall” was discovered at the Eddisbury Hill when excavating the Iron Age hillfort’s entrance beneath a potato field. The entrance to the Eddisbury Hill hillfort, thought to be the most elaborate of the six, has seven sets of post holes, each as big as a tree trunk, as well as guard rooms.
I would say that this hillfort is as sophisticated as it gets in the Iron Age, the Northwich Guardian quotes Dan Garner, project officer at the Eddisbury Hill excavations.
The team has three more hillforts to excavate, after which they’ll try to determine how well the forts can see each other project ‘Hillfort Glow’.
Hillfort intervisibility is quite a hot topic at the moment, Garner said. We have computer software that shows where you can and cant see from each hillfort and a lot of our chain has good intervisibility with hillforts in North Wales. We dont really know where tribal boundaries are and intervisibility may define tribal areas. The fact that those in Cheshire can see those in North Wales might suggest a tribal identity theres far less intervisibility between Cheshire and Shropshire so maybe the people in Shropshire were from a different tribe.
Iron Age Open Day organised by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Habitats and Hillforts project takes place this Saturday, 18 September at the Burwardsley Outdoor Education Centre (the old primary school). The opening of the Iron Age Roundhouse starts at 1.30pm.
Attractions at the open day include living history reenactments, willow weaving, site tours and having a go finding the remains of an Iron Age roundhouse at a mock archaeological dig.
There will also be demonstrations showing hurdle making and hedge laying and a chance to meet the Cheshire Badger Group and Cheshire Bat Group – and a BBQ and refreshments available.