Hillforts are defended, enclosed sites on hills. A few were built in the Bronze Age, but most date to the Iron Age (800BC – 43AD). Although settlements were spread out at this time, there were ties, trading, and conflicts between tribal groups. As a result, hillforts were multi-purpose structures. They probably served as administrative centres, as industrial sites, and as forts. Defences included ditches, wooden walls, and ramparts (banks made from earth, wood, or stone). Their high locations also provided long-distance views for monitoring the area.
In Northamptonshire, over twenty defended hilltop enclosures have been found. Although most have been damaged or completely destroyed, artefacts found give us further clues to their use. Some hillforts were inhabited, others probably functioned as tribal power bases. By the Roman period, however, most of the hillforts had been deserted and the population was increasingly based in village-like communities.
Click on the photos below to learn more about each hillfort.