|25 September 2004
Ancient fort excavated in Dorset
The first excavation of a well-known pre-historic monument has shown it to be much older than previously thought. The archaeological dig at Badbury Rings near Wimborne in Dorset (England) has uncovered evidence that the site was inhabited at least 5,000 years ago.
The excavations, which were prompted by concerns that tree roots on the summit were damaging the site, have found the remains of a Neolithic settlement. Martin Papworth, National Trust archaeologist for Wessex, said: ""Previous interpretations of these impressive earthworks have been based on what can be seen from the surface and by comparing Badbury with other excavated hill forts in Dorset such as Hod Hill and Maiden Castle.
To date, it is the only hill fort of this size not to be excavated in the area. We are hoping that this first excavation of Badbury Ring will help us untangle the chronology of this important piece of Dorset's history."
The evidence found so far dates the first occupation of Badbury Rings , which are part of the National Trust's Kingston Lacy Estate, between 3500 and 1500 BCE.
Sources: This is Dorset (23 September 2004), BBC News (24 September 2004)
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