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Maiden Castle, Dorchester: Excavations in 1937

    Naturevolume 140page186 (1937) | Download Citation



    EXCAVATIONS have now been resumed at Maiden Castle, Dorchester, under the direction of Dr. R. E. Mortimer Wheeler and Colonel C. D. Drew on behalf of the Society of Antiquaries and the Dorset Natural History and Archæological Society (The Times, July 26). Three areas are to be explored in the coming season. At the eastern entrance, the unexpected discoveries made last autumn towards the close of last season's work will be. further examined. These earlier fortifications, partly of masonry and dating from the third century B.C., which were found beneath the earthworks screening the entrance, include two outer gateways, which with the inner gateway constitute a complex plan hitherto unknown in prehistoric fortifications. Outside these are areas in which iron was smelted and burials took place. The latter should afford further evidence of the physical characters of the inhabitants, who according to the skeletons found last year were of a small build. Within the fort, investigations will be directed firstly to the Neolithic trenches found last year near the temple, which may have been part of the inner defensive system of the Neolithic partial occupation of c. 2000 B.C. ; and secondly to the original western entrance, which was found in December last, but was not then explored. This last is marked by a gap in the rampart, which shows the original western limit of the castle, and should reveal the plan of the earliest gateway known. The first important discovery of the season is that of approach roads diverging in a north-easterly and south-easterly direction, which were superseded and abandoned in the first century B.C. and are thus among the earliest metalled roads known in Britain.

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