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Defining Spaces in Iron Age Northumberland (Paperback)

Excavations at Morley Hill and Lower Callerton

Ancient History > Prehistory > British & Irish Prehistory P&S History > Archaeology > Archaeological Method & Theory

By Claire Christie, Josh Gaunt, Candy Hatherley, Edited by Alex Smith
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Pages: 160
Illustrations: Colour
ISBN: 9781789258561
Published: 15th October 2022
Casemate UK Academic



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The Iron Age settlements excavated by Headland Archaeology (UK) Ltd at Morley Hill and Lower Callerton lie within the rich later prehistoric landscape of the Northumberland coastal plain. This monograph presents the results of the excavation, specialist analyses and provides a key dataset upon which to discuss regionally and nationally important later prehistoric research themes. The excavations at Morley Hill and Lower Callerton offer two large-scale new datasets to compare within the corpus of enclosed Iron Age settlement sites across the region, allowing for an increased understanding of settlement patterns, architectural forms and farming practices. These include settlement development, longevity and tempo; the relationship between lowland and upland sites; settlement organisation and identity; roundhouse architecture and the impact of contact with the Roman world.


At Morley Hill, work revealed two later Iron Age settlements defined by rectilinear enclosures surrounding groups of roundhouses with evidence for earlier phases of activity. The settlements at Morley Hill are comparable to many such distinctive settlements identified across the region and explored in recent years largely through developer-funded excavations. Lower Callerton represents a less explored form of extensive settlement with the excavation revealing evidence of earlier prehistoric activity overlain by a large Iron Age enclosure with over 53 structures, multiple sub-enclosures and boundaries. Comprehensive Bayesian modelling at Lower Callerton has provided a robust chronological framework indicating complex and continual settlement development from the middle Iron Age. The implications of this in terms of wider settlement development, tempo and longevity are explored. While the volume focuses on the Iron Age, the identification and influence of earlier prehistoric activity is also explored. The discussion is again enhanced by the programme of radiocarbon dating and isotopic analysis of cereal grains from Neolithic pits at Lower Callerton.

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About Claire Christie

Claire Christie is a senior post-excavation archaeologist for Headland Archaeology (UK) Ltd, responsible for the management of post-excavation projects through to publication. She completed her PhD at the University of Aberdeen in 2020. Her main research interests are prehistoric settlement and the development of field systems in northern Britain. 

About Josh Gaunt

Josh Gaunt is a senior archaeologist for Headland Archaeology (UK) Ltd, managing large-scale excavations. These have included the excavation of several later prehistoric sites throughout Scotland and northern England, Romano-British sites in Lincolnshire, and medieval sites in Newcastle and Edinburgh. He has particular research interests in the Iron Age of northern Britain and the application of new technologies in archaeological practice.

About Candy Hatherley

Candy Hatherley is a project manager for Headland Archaeology (UK) Ltd with over 25 years of archaeological experience directing excavations throughout the UK. Her research interests centre on later prehistoric settlement and the evolution of domestic architecture building upon her PhD research completed in 2015.  

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