Digging up the past at bird sanctuary

PUBLISHED: 12:09 13 April 2006 | UPDATED: 10:01 06 May 2010

On the spot where the dig will take place

On the spot where the dig will take place

AN archaeological dig is to take place to discover what Sandy s ancestors were doing more than 2,000 years ago. The dig will be at the Galley Hill Fort on the RSPB reserve at Sandy, an area that has never been opened to the public. The reasons behind the

AN archaeological dig is to take place to discover what Sandy's ancestors were doing more than 2,000 years ago.

The dig will be at the Galley Hill Fort on the RSPB reserve at Sandy, an area that has never been opened to the public.

The reasons behind the dig - to be carried out by archaeologists from English Heritage, which is helping fund the £12,000 project - were revealed for the first time this week by RSPB site manager Peter Bradley.

The land where the fort sits was purchased by the RSPB from a shooting club and the Forestry Commission several years ago but even its existence has remained a mystery with few people even knowing it is there.

Now its secrets will hopefully be uncovered when the dig, which will last a week, starts on May 22.

Deep core samples will be taken from the site and taken away for analysis by heritage scientists.

It is also hoped that during the dig artefacts and bones might be found on the remote fort which could one day provide an exhibition at the RSPB site to reflect its historic past.

"It is exciting to think we might uncover something very interesting at Galley Hill Fort," said Mr Bradley.

"We are digging into the unknown if you like. The fort lies on a promontory at the end of a sandy ridge and would have been a formidable place.

"It is a scheduled ancient monument and has ditches and banks around it and it is thought it could have been used as a place to go if people were under attack. It could also have some religious significance.

"We just don't know what it was used for which is why we are doing the archaeological dig and hopefully all the fort's secrets might be revealed."

Galley Hill Fort is known to have been there before Roman times which were around 200 to 300 AD with the site possibly being 2,500 to 7,000 years old.

Flint arrow heads, scrapers and axe heads have already been discovered in the area.

Following the dig, the site where the hill fort lies will be open to the public as part of the RSPB's nature trail.


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