T he iron age hillfort of Dane bury, in Hampshire, is now becoming the best excavated hillfort in the country. Professor Barry Cunliffe began excavating there in 1969, when we recorded his first cuttings through the ramparts. Subsequently he went on to uncover the main entrance, and then he moved into the interior. Now he has completed 14 seasons of excavation in all, uncovering nearly half the interior of this densely occupied hillfort. It is time for another progress report.
The main problem at Danebury has always been that of preservation. The excavations began because the beech trees planted on the hilltop in the 19th century are dying and must be replaced. Thus a long strip was excavated across the middle of the fort, and this is being replanted with trees. Professor Cunliffe is now putting forward a positive
management plan for the rest of the site.
The proposal is that the site be divided into three categories. Firstly there are the excavated areas, though these will not be entirel y archaeologically sterile, for some of the pits have not been excavated, but
they are not likely to last indefinitely. Finally he has set aside some areas for long term preservation. These will be archaeological reserves, where trees have already been removed, but they will be positively managed for preservation: all scrub will be cut down, all rodents and burrowin g animal s will be discouraged and a 100 year reserve will be put on these areas so that no archaeologist shall dig them for at least a century, at the end of which time a future generation can decide whether they wish to go back and check Professor Cunliffe's findings.
only planned, so it will be possible for future archaeologists to return to excavate known pits. Secondly a number of areas will be available for excavation in the future, mostly thos e where th e tree s ar e comparatively healthy, though since the trees are all over 100 years old,
The current excavations are taking place on the western half of the site, near the western entrance. Danebury has two entrances, one to the east which was excavated in the early stages of the project, and one to the west. However the western entrance was blocked up in the late Iron Age