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Site 2 - Westwood Iron Age Settlement

This point is just inside the northern limit of the extensive Iron Age settlement that extended through the site of University House, as far as the multi-storey car park beside the Warwick Manufacturing Group building. The site here was an excellent one for settlement, consisting of a level clearing with a stream along the south side. The settlement was defended by a substantial ditch and rampart (a section of this can be seen next to the path opposite the entrance to the Westwood Games Hall). An area of the Iron Age settlement was excavated in 2002 at the time of the construction of the all-weather rugby pitch. Although the area had been severely affected by construction work in the 1960s, these excavations uncovered parts of the defensive ditch and rampart and also the construction slots of at least fifteen round houses together with several simple four-post structures which would have served as animal sheds.

Site location

 
Aerial photograph taken
during the 2002 excavation

The round houses were impressive structures up to 18 metres in diameter and are likely to have stood about 9 metres tall. They had wattle and daub (mud on hurdle) walls and thick thatched roofs. The massive scale of these structures suggests that they may have served public and ceremonial purposes; a suggestion which is supported by the wealth of votive materials (especially horses’ heads and pottery vessels) that were placed in the construction trenches when the round houses were built. The round houses had entrances with porches on their east side away from the prevailing winds. Some of the excavated structures were used for industrial purposes and contained small pottery crucibles for smelting metal. It is likely that domestic houses are yet to be discovered elsewhere within the enclosure.


3D reconstructions of the settlement

Click here for 3D animation (1.62mb)

3D reconstruction3D reconstruction


Aerial photographs have revealed the existence of a banjo-shaped enclosure on the north side of the Iron Age site, underlying the running track. This structure, which is likely to have been built around a significant burial, may represent the earliest phase of settlement on the site and its presence may explain why large, apparently public, buildings were placed immediately to the south of it.

The excavated structures were arranged in overlapping groups, demonstrating that there were at least three phases of occupation. The implication of this, given the cost and effort involved in constructing buildings from vast quantities of oak, reed and clay, is that the site may have been occupied for a long period in later prehistory.

excavated structures


Remains of overlapping
Iron Age structures
 

Artefacts found at the site

Metal smelting crucible with bone handle
Metal smelting crucible
with bone handle

 

Pounder or Hammerstone
Pounder or Hammerstone

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