Spotlight on Iron Age hillforts of the Tay estuary


09 September 2020
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A four-year community archaeology project to explore the sites of hillforts at Moncreiffe Hill and Castle Law has reached its conclusion.
Spotlight on Iron Age hillforts of the Tay estuary Images

Led by Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust (PKHT) as part of the Tay Landscape Partnership Scheme (TayLP), and delivered in partnership with AOC Archaeology Group, the Hillforts of the Tay project explored the archaeology of three of the most prominent hillforts around the Tay estuary. 

The project involved a wide range of experts and engaged hundreds of volunteers to gather a large amount of information about the enigmatic hilltop sites and their residents along the Tay through topographic and geophysical surveys, targeted excavation and environmental research.

Community participation

PKHT Director and contributing author David Strachan explained a bit more about the project: “The scale of this community archaeology project was incredible - with over 500 volunteers contributing 1,743 days to survey and excavate over a four-year period - in some way a fitting tribute to the Iron Age communities who constructed these monumental sites over 2,000 years ago. I do feel that through engaging in the hard graft of digging these sites, we in some way got closer those ancient builders – and this great little book tells the story for all…”   

The booklet presents the findings from the project and tells the stories of the sites, the people who built them, and the community of volunteers and experts who investigated them over 2014-2018.

Commenting on the project’s discoveries, Martin Cook, Director of Fieldwork at AOC Archaeology Group said: “It has been a privilege to work with the community on these important hillforts. The remains of the ramparts and structures that were investigated during our excavations have much to add to our understanding of the use of these sites during the Iron Age as well as having important implications to the way we understand hillforts in the region more broadly.”

‘Hillforts of the Tay’ is the latest release in the popular series of booklets published by PKHT that reveal the stories of some of the region’s fascinating built and archaeological heritage gems in an engaging and accessible way. Copies of this booklet, other titles in the popular series and the wider publication range can be purchased through the Trust’s website here.

The Hillforts of the Tay project and booklet was produced through the generous support of the TayLP Project’sfunders, notably the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, The Gannochy Trust, and Perth and Kinross Council.

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Aerial shot © K Ward. Other images © PKHT/AOC