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Experts map hillforts of UK and Ireland

The locations and details of ancient hillforts in the UK and Ireland have been mapped in an online database.

Hillforts

Researchers have recorded the details of 4,147 sites - ranging from well-preserved forts to those where only crop marks are left.

A team from the University of Edinburgh, University of Oxford and University College Cork compiled the data over five years.

Unique resource

Citizen scientists from across England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales assisted with sifting and recording information for the project.

The unique resource provides free access to information about world-famous sites as well as many previously little-known hillforts.

Standing on a windswept hillfort with dramatic views across the countryside, you really feel like you’re fully immersed in history. This research project is all about sharing the stories of the thousands of hillforts across Britain and Ireland in one place that is accessible to the public and researchers.

Professor Ian RalstonProject co-leader. Abercromby Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology

We hope it will encourage people to visit some incredible hillforts that they may never have known were right under their feet.

Professor Gary Lock,  University of OxfordProject co-leader

Ancient monuments

Mostly built during the Iron Age, the oldest hillforts date to around 1,000BC and the most recent to around 700AD.

Hillforts served as communal gathering spaces with numerous functions - some of which are yet to be uncovered. Experts say many are not on hills and are not really forts.

Of the 4,147 recorded 1,695 are in Scotland, more than 400 of them in the Scottish borders. There are 1,224 in England.

Researchers say the data will be made available to the national monuments records of Britain and Ireland.

The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

We have thousands of images from the public on the database. These freely reusable data and images will help to create content about hillforts on Wikipedia, and will direct readers to links for the main atlas website. The database also allows users to search for customised maps focused on a particular type of fort or region of the British Isles, whilst also combining hillfort locations with other data.

Dr Martin PoulterWikimedian-in-residence for the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford

Image - Copyright KB - Castle Law 

The Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

AHRC (Arts Humanities and Research Council) 

School of History Classics and Archaeology