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About the Project
The Chilterns Conservation Board is delivering an exciting project which will engage and inspire communities to discover, conserve, and enjoy the Chilterns' Iron Age hillforts and their prehistoric chalk landscapes.
The Chilterns has one of the largest collections of hillforts in the UK, yet many are poorly preserved, and little is known about them. Supported and part-funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this 4 year project will provide a real focus for community and public involvement through remote sensing and survey, practical excavation, and research, as well as a programme of events and educational activities. A key component of the project is a "LiDAR survey," covering 1400 km2, about which you can read more, and see its extent, on this page.
The project team consists of Project Manager Dr Wendy Morrison and Landscape Heritage Officer Dr Edward Peveler. For further information about the project, contact Dr Wendy Morrison at the Chilterns Conservation Board, tel. 01844 355525 firstname.lastname@example.org
Above is a map of the sites on which the project will be focusing. The majority of these are Iron Age hillfort sites, with one or two exceptions.
Below is an overview of the project, and to the left you will be able to find more pages relating to the project. We will be adding to this information as the project moves along and we discover more about the Chilterns Iron Age past.
Download a 4-page summary of the Beacons of the Past project
Why is this project important?
Ancient hillforts have fascinated historians and archaeologists for centuries. Enduring and prominently situated, they have sparked the imaginations of generations through the glimpse they give us into our history.
Iron Age hillforts were constructed in the United Kingdom from around 1000 BC until the Romans arrived. Steeped in mythology and folklore, they offer an intriguing insight into how communities might have lived together over two-thousand years ago.
Some think hillforts may have been built to mark a boundary between two distinct tribal areas. They might have been centres of ritual and ceremony. Some have evidence of roundhouses, which would point to their function as community dwellings and livestock enclosures. But who were these people? What did they do, and how did they live?
What will the project do?
The project will help people connect with the prehistory of the Chilterns, and encourage them to visit and enjoy the hillforts and their landscapes through practical research and conservation skills. As a result, Chilterns hillforts will be better understood, in better condition and more accessible. An exciting first step is a LiDAR survey of the Chilterns this winter – the first of its kind in this area. A light aircraft will be flown over the area, using a rapid-pulse laser to ‘see’ through the vegetation and produce a digital model of both the trees and what lies beneath them. When the trees are ‘erased’ from the digital model, the bumps and depressions of the ancient landscape will be seen for the first time. It is hoped that perhaps even unknown hillforts may be added to the map! We don’t know what the survey will reveal – but the results might support future projects as we continue to seek to understand this ancient landscape.
How can you support us?
We would be delighted to hear from individuals, organisations and potential partners and welcome the following assistance:
If you’re inspired by this important heritage project, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch with Dr Wendy Morrison (Project Manager) tel 01844 355525, email@example.com or Dr Ed Peveler, (Landscape Heritage Officer) firstname.lastname@example.org
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