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Ancient open cuts workings on the Darren Lode have cut the western earthworks of this Late Bronze Age/ Iron Age hill fort.

Although most of these workings clearly post-date the siting of the fort, the vein here would have been clearly exposed within the outer ditch, and there good is reason to suppose that some working of the lead-silver mineralisation took place early on in its history. The earthworks of the fort and their relationship to the mining trench were examined in July 2005.

The location of the fort and open cuts are stunning.

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This website was made possible by a grant from the Cambrian Archaeology Association

An excavation by the EMRG across the outer hillfort ditch revealed the presence of a mined vein within its base. It seems likely that their working is either contemporary, or else pre-dates the occupation of the fort. (RCAHM (Wales) aerial photo).

A section through early spoil tip showing position of Medieval and underlying Late Bronze Age ground surface. (S. Timberlake, 2005)

The late Bronze Age date from the underlying land surface and the Medieval date from the uppermost (later) phase of mine spoil suggests that the earliest major working on this vein may have taken place sometime during the Iron Age - Roman Period.

Excavations of the Western Gateway of the Hill fort.

Excavation of hillfort earthwork showing boulder revetment. (S. Timberlake)

Large white quartz boulders were inserted into the revetted facing of the gateway on either side of the entrance. These would have been visible some distance away from the hillfort.

They are an impressive statement  of the importance of this settlement. The curved revetment wall behind this might also indicate the presence of a guard chamber, perhaps as a later addition. Two or three phases of construction of the earthwork defences are suggested in the period 350-200 BC.

On the revetted middle earthwork bank of the hillfort, the outer face has been laid with waterworn boulders of sandstone brought up from the floor of the valley below.

Section across the outer hillfort ditch with the worked mineral vein in its base. (S. Timberlake)



(S. Timberlake and B. Craddock)
Mail: bc293@cam.ac.uk