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H 290 x W 205 mm

224 pages

113 figures, 20 tables (colour throughout)

Published Oct 2021

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781789698633

Digital: 9781789698640

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Iron Age; Shropshire; The Berth; Environmental archaeology; stratigraphy; Marshland; Waterscapes

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Assessing Iron Age Marsh-Forts

With Reference to the Stratigraphy and Palaeoenvironment Surrounding The Berth, North Shropshire

By Shelagh Norton

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This volume assesses marsh-forts as a separate phenomenon within Iron Age society through an understanding of their landscape context and palaeoenvironmental development. These substantial monuments appear to have been deliberately constructed to control areas of marginal wetland and may have played an important role in the ritual landscape.



Summary ;
Chapter 1: Assessing Iron Age marsh-forts - an introduction ;
Chapter 2: The British Iron Age, hillforts and marsh-forts - Literature Review ;
Chapter 3: Methodology and Resources ;
Chapter 4: Marsh-forts in a landscape context ;
Chapter 5: North Shropshire’s marsh-forts ;
Chapter 6: The Berth – a marsh-fort in its landscape context ;
Chapter 7: The Berth – stratigraphic sequencing and radiocarbon dating ;
Chapter 8: The Berth – Palaeoenvironmental Reconstruction ;
Chapter 9: Assessing Iron Age marsh-forts – Discussion and Conclusions ;
Bibliography ;
Appendix 1 – Radiocarbon dates ;
Appendix 2 – Samples weights and volumes ;
Appendix 3 – Full species lists

About the Author

Shelagh Norton (BA, MPhil, PhD) specialises in the reconstruction of macro-and micro-palaeolandscapes, and in particular, the interpretation of plant macrofossil and coleopteran remains from wetland contexts. Her research is based on the practical application of archaeological principles in a real-world context both in the UK and New Zealand, where she worked as a Regional Archaeologist for Heritage New Zealand. Her publications include The Archaeological and Palaeoenvironmental Potential of the Weald Moors, Shropshire (Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society, 2016). She is an active member of the Hillfort Studies Group (University of Oxford), Worcestershire Archaeological Society and Worcestershire Archive Services.


‘Well written, -illustrated, and -referenced, this is a helpful addition to the literature on this part of the later prehistoric settlement record.’ – Ian Ralston (2022): Current Archaeology, Issue 390

‘Overall, this work provides a welcome investigation of a poorly understood site type within prehistoric archaeology. The application of landscape archaeology and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction techniques provides a wholistic approach to the understanding of the landscape setting of the Berth and is a welcome example of best practice into the investigation of wetland landscapes.’ – Tudur Davies (2022): Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 171

Norton has delivered a solid study on an elusive subject and succeeds in putting forward a convincing framework for studying marsh-forts in the future as a more common site type and, in some cases, important centres in hillfort-dominated landscapes. Their position in their waterscapes is both deliberate and meaningful. Adopting these proposals for marsh-forts will certainly have an impact on the perception of, and stimulate fresh input into, future research in the British Iron Age.’ – Marion Uckelmann (2023): Antiquity Vol. 97 (395)