Breedon Hill, Leicestershire: Geophysical surveys

Chris Whittaker, 2019

Data copyright © Chris Whittaker unless otherwise stated

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Chris Whittaker (2019) Breedon Hill, Leicestershire: Geophysical surveys [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]


Breedon Hill, Leicestershire: Geophysical surveys

This archive contains the results of gradiometer and earth resistance surveys undertaken at Breedon Hill, Leicestershire in February 2016 (SK 40535 23223).

Breedon Hill is the site of one of the few Iron Age hillforts in the East Midlands - and one which, in its original form, ranked amongst the largest monuments of its type in the region. Subsequently, the hillfort interior witnessed multiple periods of monastic occupation from the last quarter of the 7th century, made visible by the important corpus of architectural sculpture dating to the late 8th and early 9th centuries.

The single rampart and ditch earthworks originally enclosed an oval-form area approximate to 8.5ha (21 acres). Extensive quarrying of the eastern and northern parts of the outcrop has reduced the enclosed area to c.3.4ha (8.5 acres). The extant earthworks and the two fields surrounding the parish church of St Mary and St Hardulph are protected by Scheduled Monument designation (no. 1003606); this area and the western hillside are further designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its ecological significance.

As past investigations have tended to focus their attentions on dating and sequencing the hillfort's earthworks, our understanding of the nature and pattern of occupation within the hillfort interior is very slight. The geophysical surveys reveal several phases of roundhouses and possible post-built structures in the south-eastern part of the hillfort interior.

This project formed the basis of an undergraduate dissertation completed at Newcastle University in July 2016. Funding and training in preparation of the geophysical surveys was provided by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Newcastle University. The results of this study are further discussed in a paper published in Internet Archaeology. Whittaker, C. (2019) 'Breedon Hill, Leicestershire: new surveys and their implications'. Internet Archaeology 52.

The joint archive and publication was funded completely via donations made to the Open Access Archaeology Fund.