Ironworking in the Bronze Age? Evidence from a 10th century BC settlement at Hartshill Copse, Upper Bucklebury, West Berkshire
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Authors: Collard, M., Darvill, T., Watts, M., Bayliss, A., Brett, M., Ramsey, C.B., Meadows, J., Morris, E.L., Van Der Plicht, H. and Young, T.
Journal: Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Excavations at Hartshill Copse in 2003 uncovered evidence for Late Bronze Age settlement, securely dated to the 10th century BC, associated tvith long alignments of closely set posts: prehistoric landscape features with few known parallels. Extensive sampling of the settlement remains yielded quantities of burnt flint and plain Post Deverel-Rimbury potsherds, and, quite unexpectedly, a substantial quantity of iron hammerscale. This paper presents the excavation data, with supporting dating evidence, and the results of detailed analysis of the metallurgical residues. It explores the spatial distribution of artefact types within the settlement, and presents an interpretative model for settlement use. The nature of the settlement, with its carefully planned use of space and close relationship with the post alignments, is then discussed. Together, all this provides conclusive evidence for the earliest ironworking site yet recognised in Britain. The paper concludes with a comprehensive discussion of early ironworking in its British and European context.