Dig unearths clues to town origins

PUBLISHED: 14:31 01 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:14 06 May 2010

Site manager of the RSPB dig Peter Bradley at the Iron Age hill fort

Site manager of the RSPB dig Peter Bradley at the Iron Age hill fort

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed the history of some of a town s oldest residents after carrying out a dig at an Iron Age hill fort. Specialists spent last week carrying out excavation work at the fort, located within the grounds of the RSPB headquarters in

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed the history of some of a town's oldest residents after carrying out a dig at an Iron Age hill fort.

Specialists spent last week carrying out excavation work at the fort, located within the grounds of the RSPB headquarters in Sandy.

By taking soil samples and digging trenches at the site, they have discovered Sandy's ancestors may have been in the area for a lot longer than previously thought.

Peter Bradley, site manager of the nature reserve said: "Our initial thoughts are that it's something like 250 BC but certainly there are finds that go back to much much earlier than that.

"The site's certainly been in use for a very long time."

Pottery and flint were found at the fort and the dig was able to confirm the location of the original entrance.

The experts have also found evidence of a smaller hill fort which had been incorporated into the later fort.

The purpose of a raised mound in the middle of the site remains a mystery, however.

It was originally thought that it could have been a Neolithic barrow, similar to a burial mound.

But excavations found it was a ditch with a bank on one side, and the archaeologists are still unsure what it could have been.

The dig cost £12,000 in total, with £3,000 coming from the RSPB and the remaining £9,000 from English Heritage.

Peter Bradley said: "It's very exciting, we've found some of the things we wanted to know.

"We also know that the site has got lots of historic evidence going back nearly 8,000 years.

"It is remarkable to think that first people using the hill were there such a long time ago."

The archaeologists have taken away a number of the finds to look at in more detail.

They will then put together a report on the site, which the RSPB hopes to have later this year.

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