'Beacons' in the Landscape: The Hillforts of England and Wales

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9781905119226: 'Beacons' in the Landscape: The Hillforts of England and Wales

Of all Britain's great archaeological monuments the Iron Age hillforts have arguably had the most profound impact on the landscape, if only because there are so many; yet we know very little about them. Were they recognised as being something special by those who created them or is the 'hillfort' purely an archaeologists' 'construct'? How were they constructed, who lived in them and to what uses were they put? This book, which is richly illustrated with photography of sites throughout England and Wales, addresses these and many other questions. After discussing the difficult issue of definition and the great excavations on which our knowledge is based, Ian Brown investigates in turn hillforts' origins, their architecture, and the role they played in Iron Age society. He also discusses the latest theories about their location, social significance and chronology. The book provides a valuable synthesis of the rich vein of research carried out in Britain on hillforts over the last thirty years. Hillforts' great variability poses many problems, and this book should help guide both the specialist and non-specialist alike though the complex literature. Furthermore, it has an important conservation objective. Land use in the modern era has not been kind to these monuments, with a significant number either disfigured or lost. Public consciousness of their importance needs raising if their management is to be improved and their future assured.

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About the Author:

Ian Brown is an Honorary Research Associate of the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford, formerly an Honorary Associate of the University of Wales, Lampeter and Principal of the Consultancy Heritage Management Services.


With a full index and comprehensive bibliography, this splendid book forms an ideal starting point for anyone interested in learning more about hillforts and the iron age in general.' (Ian Armit British Archaeology Review, 110, December 2009+H925)

...In brief, an attractive book which many of us will want in our personal libraries.' (John Collis Landscape History, Vol. 31, Issue 1, 2010)

It is refreshing to see many of the more challenging ideas on the problems of the Iron Age, and the thorny issues of hillforts in general, migrating from the realms of specialist research into a more mainstream narrative.With its extensive bibliography, which will be mined for some of its more obscure references, this book forms an enjoyable and solid companion to the study of the Iron Age of England and Wales.' (Toby Driver Archaeologia Cambrensis, 158, 2009)

What is clearly needed, in this new situation, is a fresh survey volume, written and presented in a manner accessible to any interested reader, provided with the full panoply of plans and photographs that marks most good archaeological publication, and devoted to the problem of the purpose of hillforts. Ian Brown’s book is precisely this work.' (Ronald Hutton The Oxford Art Journal, Vol. 3, No. 2, July 2010)

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