MASSACRE AT THE HILLFORT; Mass Grave That Is Challenging Our Beliefs about Iron Age Britain

Daily Mail (London), April 19, 2011 | Go to article overview

MASSACRE AT THE HILLFORT; Mass Grave That Is Challenging Our Beliefs about Iron Age Britain


Byline: David Derbyshire Environment Editor

THE screams must have been unbearable.

High on the peaks of the Pennines, a terrified group of women and children sat huddled in the half-finished ditches and walls of their hillfort, surrounded by gloating faces.

Their men were missing, either killed in battle or taken to one side to be pressed into military service or sold as slaves by their captors.

But that left the less valuable women and children to be disposed of. Any pleas for clemency fell on deaf ears.

Dozens, maybe even hundreds, of women, babies and children were stabbed or strangled, stripped of possessions and tossed into the ditch that encircled the fort.

Then their attackers toppled a 13ft-high limestone wall over their broken bodies, covering them with a litter of rocks and soil.

This is what archaeologists believe to be the explanation for a 2,400-year-old mass grave discovered at Fin Cop in Derbyshire.

The findings are challenging some widely held views about life in Iron Age Britain and whether life before the Romans was quite as peaceful as some academics like to claim.

Dr Clive Waddington, of Archaeological Research Services, assisted by his team and hundreds of volunteers and local schoolchildren, uncovered the grisly find in two sections of a ditch, created as part of the fort's defences.

While so far only nine bodies have been found, Dr Waddington believes there will be many more buried with them. He said: 'We excavated ten metres but there is 400m of ditch around the site, and the implication is that could be dozens - if not hundreds - of bodies there.'

The nine bodies, which had been thrown carelessly in the ditch and covered with rubble from a stone wall, include four babies, one of whom was unborn, a two-year-old, a teenage boy and three adults, two of whom were definitely women and one whose sex is unknown.

There were no personal possessions, suggesting the captors removed any valuables.

Dr Waddington believes they were massacred after the hillfort was attacked and captured by a rival chieftain.

Radiocarbon dating shows that the Fin Cop hillfort was built around 400BC, but was destroyed before completion.

'The ditches and fort were never finished,' said Dr Waddington. 'They had started to make a second wall but that wasn't completed. You can tell that it was a hasty thing - they were trying to rapidly build it and it was not done on time.'

It has become fashionable to interpret Iron Age hillforts, of which 3,000 have been found across the country, as farming settlements or status symbols - the prehistoric equivalent of Tudor castles and 19th century stately homes - rather than military defences. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

MASSACRE AT THE HILLFORT; Mass Grave That Is Challenging Our Beliefs about Iron Age Britain
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.