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OLD OSWESTRY HILLFORT

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  ALDPORT, CAER OGYRFAN, HEN DDINAS
DESCRIPTION + /

Old Oswestry is a large and complex multivallate Iron Age hillfort, with contour-following ramparts interrupted by two complex entrances. It began as univallate enclosure, with box ramparts, around the 6th century BC. It was enlarged on a massive scale during the later Iron Age period, by dumps of earth and stone increasing the size of the earlier ramparts and by the addition of further ramparts increasing its area. A series of unusual sub-rectangular hollows lies at the western entrance to the hillfort. Their date and purpose remains a mystery and they appear to be unparalled at any other hillfort. They have been variously described as cisterns, storage pits, stock enclosures, of ritual significance, or additional fortifications.

Excavations have revealed evidence for settlement at the site. Late Bronze Age timber round houses pre-dating the hillfort and an Early Iron Age settlement of stone-kerbed round huts associated with the early hillfort were unearthed.

During the Iron Age the hillfort may have been the stronghold of the local Cornovii tribe, and there is evidence for small-scale settlement during Roman or sub-Roman periods. In the 8th or 9th centuries AD the hillfort was incorporated into Wat's Dyke, a defensive system 61 kilometres long. The site subsequently reverted to woodland, which was not cleared until 1946. During the First World War, it was used as a training area for Canadian troops who dug pits and trenches which remain as earthworks in the hillfort's interior. Today the site is used for pasture and has a rich and diverse wildlife population. It is in the care of English Heritage and there is free public access to it all year round.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.