This book, organised into 14 well-crafted chapters, charts the archaeology, folklore, heritage and landscape development of one of England's most enigmatic monuments, Old Oswestry Hillfort, from the Iron Age, through its inclusion as part of an early medieval boundary between England and Wales, to its role during World War I.
Old Oswestry is considered to be one of England's most precious archaeological jewels, described by Sir Cyril Fox in the 1930s as 'the outstanding work of the Early Iron Age type on the Marches of Wales', and its design is unique amongst hillforts in the UK. Located on the edge of the Shropshire Plain and just a kilometre north of the market town of Oswestry, the hillfort (and its hinterland landscape) can trace activity through artefactual evidence back at least 5000 years, with the last 3000 years evident as earthworks. The reader will notice that little in the way of archaeological investigation has occurred within the hillfort, and indeed, more excavation took place when its internal space became a training ground for trench warfare during World War I than through any academic endeavour.
Old Oswestry Hillfort and its Landscape: Ancient Past, Uncertain Future, organised into 14 well-crafted chapters, charts the archaeology, folklore, heritage and landscape development of one of England's most enigmatic monuments, from the Iron Age, through its inclusion as part of an early medieval boundary between England and Wales, to its role during World War I when, between 1915 and 1918, over 4000 troops (including Oswestry's own great war poet Wilfrid Owen), were being trained at any one time for the Western Front.
This book also discusses in detail the recent threats to the monument's special landscape from insensitive development and its alternative potential to act as a heritage gateway for the recreational and economic benefit of Oswestry and surrounding communities.
Chapter 1: The Prehistoric Marches – Warfare or Continuity? – Dave Matthews ;
Chapter 2: Everybody needs good neighbours: Old Oswestry hillfort in context – Fiona Gale, Erin Lloyd-Jones ;
Chapter 3: Caer Ogyrfan: hillfort of the northern border – Dave Matthews ;
Chapter 4: The Design and Setting of Old Oswestry Hillfort – Tim Malim ;
Chapter 5: The Epona Stone – George Nash, Maggie Rowlands & Roland Farmer ;
Chapter 6: Legends in the Landscape – Caroline Malim ;
Chapter 7: Tribal boundaries – Dave Matthews ;
Chapter 8: Wat’s Dyke and its relationship to Old Oswestry Hillfort – Tim Malim ;
Chapter 9: Oldport Farm: historic buildings at the foot of the hillfort – George Nash ;
Chapter 10: The military legacy from WW1 – George Nash ;
Chapter 11: The Industrial Heritage of Old Oswestry – Andrew Tullo ;
Chapter 12: Threats and policy protection – or not – George Nash and Tim Malim ;
Chapter 13: Prehistory, Protest and Public Engagement – John Swogger ;
Chapter 14: The future: Oswestry Heritage Gateway – Tim Malim, Kate Clarke
About the Author
Tim Malim is a graduate of the Institute of archaeology, London, and has worked in many parts of the UK and abroad as an archaeologist during a 40-year career. Currently, he is head of the heritage team at SLR Consulting, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and Chairman of the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers. ;
George Nash is an Associate Professor at Geosciences Centre of Coimbra University ITM (Earth and Memory Institute), Polytechnic Institute of Tomar (IPT), Portugal, as well as working for SLR Consulting, an environmental planning consultancy based in the UK.
'...the volume solidly demonstrates the amount of new work and thought which can be directed towards, or focused around, a major hillfort, and its landscape and one hopes similar initiatives may be targeted towards other famous prehistoric monuments which have languished for too long at the edges of modern research.'- Toby Driver (2021): Archaeologia Cambrensis
‘The overriding message behind the publication is the very real threat that is posed to our heritage. It outlines the very important work of members of HOOOH and now Oswestry Heritage Gateway in mobilizing the public to defend our cultural assets.’ – Andy Valdez-Tullett (2022): The Prehistoric Society March 2022