Aerial view of
Uffington hillfort and the White Horse. Note the Ridgeway, coming in top left, and running past the hillfort. The long barrow known as
Wayland's Smithy is about a mile further on down the
Ridgeway to the bottom right.
Below. Plan of the hillfort and the White
Horse. Note the two barrows, both of which were later re-
used, and which provide the earliest evidence for the long 'ritual' use of the hill.
find some interest in up-to-date information;
Horse had been covered over so as not to be a landmark to enemy aircraft, and then at the and at least this would be less misleading than the antiquated Ministry of Works sign that stood (and still stands) censoriously inside the hillfort. The main problem was the "Peter" Grimes. However it appears that end of the war it had been uncovered by agricultural workers, under the control of W.F.
White Horse itself. How can you find stratigraphy and dating evidence in an etching or a graffito?
The breakthrough came while searching the ancient site files of the Ministry of Works. There among the White Horse papers we discovered a well-drawn section and
Grimes did a naughty: for in addition to the uncovering, he also dug a test pit, nearly a metre deep in the Horse's "beak". (You didn't know that horses have beaks? Well, the White Horse does ... two short lines issue from the horse's mouth, and these are called his 'beak').
photographs. During the war, the White
Here Grimes dug a test pit, and found that the stratigraphy went down nearly 3 feet: The 'beak' was not simply etched into the natural chalk, but consisted of trenches nearly a metre deep cut into brown hill-wash deposits, and then filled with chalk. This was convincing evidence that the White
Horse had a anatomy which could, potentially, be dissected. This gave the National
Trust and English Heritage the stimulus they needed to commission a research design for the investigation of White Horse Hill. The subsequent work was also supported by W H Smith Ltd.
White Horse Hill is a protected land-
scape: legally for its archaeological and biological importance, but also as a place to which people are attached emotionally and aesthetically, and over which they have a sense of proprietorship. Any archaeological
CURRENT ARCHAEOLOGY 142