North Wales hill test on communication in the Iron Age


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An experiment hopes to identify how Iron Age people communicated from their hilltop homes 2,500 years ago. Volunteers are being sought to stand on the summit of 10 hill forts, and use flares and torchlight to signal to each other.

Map of 10 Iron Age forts involved in the project to try to communicate The aim is also to find out if people used high points to warn each other.

The ancient sites are on the Clwydian Range; Halkyn Mountain, near Holywell, Flintshire; a lowland site at Wirral; and the Sandstone Ridge, Cheshire.

Beacon fires have previously used on hilltops around the UK to mark the Queen’s golden and silver jubilees.

‘Warning system’

But this experiment is being used to see if people on neighbouring hills can actually communicate.

The view towards Moel Arthur and Moel Famau from Penycloddiau which is the location of one of the fires. “Most of the hill forts across the surrounding landscape can be seen from each other,” says archaeologist Erin Robinson from Denbighshire’s Heather and Hillforts project.

“The experiment is aiming to see if the glowing fires could have been seen across the hills and acted as a communication or warning system.”

The first flare will be fired at a given time on Sunday, 5 December, triggering – hopefully – the next group of volunteers on the adjacent hillside to light their flares.

Places for volunteers are limited, and people are invited to register online via the Heather and Hillforts website.

Both the Heather and Hillforts and Habitats and Hillforts projects are Landscape Partnership Schemes funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Source: BBC News [November 25, 2010]



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