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ARP 2011 “Through the keyhole: the hillforts of Strathdon” by Murray Cook

Lecture by Murray Cook into the small-scale excavations and radiocarbon dating of hillforts in north east Scotland.

“Through the keyhole: the Hillforts of Strathdon” a short lecture by Murray Cook, Oxford Archaeology North, at the Archaeological Research in Progress (ARP 2011) national day conference on Saturday 28th May 2011 at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

The Hillforts of Strathdon Project attempts to build upon the combined results of an extensive series of rescue excavation managed by the author around Kintore, Aberdeenshire and an exhaustive survey of the wider area by the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland. The rescue excavations uncovered an unenclosed settlement sequence running from c 1800 BC to AD 800, while the RCAHMS survey classified the various different hillforts in Strathdon into six different types based on size and type of defence, although without any excavation.

The primary aim of the reported project was to generate, though key-hole excavation dates for the hillforts and to integrate the results with the existing unenclosed sequence. Over a period of six years, using local community volunteers and students, eight different sites were explored and their defensive sequence dated. The enclosed sequence dates from c 1000 BC to AD 600. This paper presents the initial integrated findings from the project.