School of History, Classics & Archaeology

BBC highlights hillfort mapping project

BBC News has been highlighting the “volunteer army” which our Head of Archaeology, Professor Ian Ralston and colleagues in Oxford are recruiting, to help map hillforts across Britain and Ireland.

As the BBC website and BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland have both reported, volunteers across the land are being invited to provide information about their local hillfort, through the Atlas of Hillforts research website (link below).

Citizen science in action

Professor Ralston is enthusiastic about the contribution that citizen science can make, saying.

“This class of 4,000-5,000 prehistoric sites has not been considered at this scale before.

“If you can help us to identify and record ramparts, walls and ditches or the crop marks which indicate an underlying hillfort, please do fill out the survey on our website”.

AHRC support

In 2012, Professor Ralston and fellow Principal Investigator (or ‘co-PI’), Professor Gary Lock of the Institute of Archaeology at Oxford, were awarded £950,000 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to lead a major four year study of the prehistoric sites.

Aims and outcomes

The team has systematised the definition of hillforts across the study area, with a view to producing an Atlas of Hillforts in Britain and Ireland, backed by substantial online resources.

As well as gathering information for the atlas, the project aims to enable people to learn more about hillforts and to record any damage/erosion to these historic sites.

The information gathered will be collected in a database and used to produce searchable maps, linked to Google Earth, which show where the hillforts lie within the local landscape. They will be made freely available online.

Read the BBC news article