Hod Hill 09.12.2016

hod-hill-geophysicsFriday 9 December witnessed a party of FoA volunteers swarming up the flanks of Hod Hill, in the company of Claire Pinder (Dorset County Archaeologist). The sheer scale of the earthworks on this hillfort perhaps made an even deep impression on ‘founders of archaeology’ such as Colt Hoare (unpublished manuscript in the Stourhead libraryof a 3 day tour) than it did on us.  Hod Hill is also one of the two places where the Durotriges and the Roman army are held to have actually clashed, if Richmond, who excavated the site in the 1950s, is to be believed. Richmond found Roman ballista bolts in proximity to what he interpreted a chieftain’s house. Irrespective of whether such a head-on conflict actually happened, the playing card Roman military camp and barracks inserted into one corner of the hillfort still stands as one of the most striking examples of the Roman occupation of Iron Age Britain. All the more so, since the rigidly rectilinear Roman barracks can be contrasted with the huge array of very round Iron Age huts which a recent geophysical survey of the site revealed – see photo. Nearby Hambledon Hill also boasts an Iron Age hillfort and the sequence of occupation between the two forts, and the commanding nature of both over an increasing number of identified surrounding settlements and the landscape, may become clearer as our evidence base increases as a result of continuing investigation of this archaeologically rich part of Dorset..


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