Hunsbury Hillfort

Topics: EconomicsTrade

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Last updated: November 22, 2019

I deem it possible that Hunsbury Hillfort was used as religious grounds or as a storage area for most of the hillforts in the area. This is because the area is not large enough to be a habitat for a substantial amount of people, unless it was made smaller by the people that were quarrying in the area for iron. Also, the hillfort is situated relatively central to the surrounding hillforts, indicating that it could be a central base for tribal meetings, religious ceremonies, regional contests, storage for the whole county (because it is large enough for that), or as a last resort for defences.

This would have been in case the rest of the hillforts fail, and then they could have retreated to this hillfort to save themselves and their possessions from pillagers and wars. Source 5 shows that Hunsbury hillfort is situated lower than the rest of the hillforts. Consequently, this backs up the theory that it could be for meetings, as a last defence resort, storage, or contests. As it is lower than the rest, it could not have been used for religious ceremonies, because they would want to be near their gods to make sacrifices, and to offer gifts to them.Source 6 shows that Hunsbury hillfort is very far away from most of the farmsteads or rural settlements compared to where the rest of the hillforts are. This disproves the thought that it could be for storage as it is too far away from other civilisation to be useful for provisions such as food or other such like. On our visit to the hillfort, we saw, for ourselves, how large the hillfort really is, and we saw the site first hand, to build our own interpretations of the site from what it looks like, how high it is, etc.

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This lead us to another aspect that disproves the idea of the hillfort being used for storage, and that is that there are no storage pits that are seen in other hillforts, such as in Danebury. Consequently, this means that the area could have been used for keeping horses, cattle, or for growing plants. It also could have been used for religious ceremonies, such as sacrifice and for “magical purposes”, such as druids of the time, gathering on the hill to perform rituals and cast spells to keep away doom and certain beliefs of hell, and things that will bring them harm if they do not sacrifice people at certain times.They thought it would displease the gods if they did not do as the druids told them, because they were the ones that were most in contact with the gods. This would explain the number of skulls, human and horse, that are on the hillfort alone with no other part of the skeletal frame accompanying them. Source 8 shows how high the hillfort is, and that the site is quite near a few other Iron Age features or sites, within one or two kilometres in fact.

It also shows that the hillfort is almost completely surrounded by the River Nene, which would have been a good source of water for a home with many families. However, because the site is not very large, it could have only been for a couple of very rich families of the time, which had been able to trade well, and gain status and wealth. The source also shows that there was/is a Roman villa nearby, to the south-west, that could have been there at the same time as the hillfort was built, and has lasted throughout, or was destroyed so that the hillfort could be built for a specific purpose.

In conclusion, I feel that the area was not built for use of a home, but for use of religious ceremonies for the many people that surrounded this site. Nevertheless, there is the possibility that it could have been used for contests or meetings, or that the site was a dumping ground for other types of people that had invaded. They could have dumped many of the heads of the people that they had killed on that one hillfort, as if it was a massacre site, or as a sign of honour for their families, from one war that they had fought.

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