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18 November 2004
Iron Age Cornish hill fort for sale

A hill fort in Cornwall, south-west England, will go on sale next month. Lescudjack Hill Fort, the area's largest Iron Age settlement, is to be auctioned by Fulfords Estate Agents in Penzance on 2 December. The guide price of 28,000 includes a 2.5 acre area of land off Pendennis Road, Penzance, with stunning views over Penzance to Mount's Bay and the Mousehole Peninsula.
    Historians and schools have raised concerns about the sale. Local author and historian Ian Addicoat said: "Clearly it is imperative that such an historic and important site is maintained and preserved correctly. I think if there were any plans to develop such an important site there would be an outcry, and I would be very surprised if the planners would allow it. I hope whoever takes it on appreciates its history and considers allowing it to be used as an amenity. I'm not sure the public is aware of its significance. They probably think it's a field with a nice view. But historians are certainly aware of what it represents."
    In 2002, children from Penzance Infants School made the hill fort their summer project, and 30 children delievered a 500-name petition to the Mayor of Penzance calling for improvements to the site. Headteacher Nikki Owen said: "It took us some time to track down the owner of the site, who turns out to be somebody in Newlyn. It is very disappointing that it is being sold off. I only hope that any future owner will develop it as a public amenity and show its historic significance."
    The site, which is believed to date to around 300 BCE, has never been properly excavated. Historian Craig Weatherhill, who mentioned Lescudjack in his book Belerion, said: "Some 15 to 20 years ago there was a proposal to do a hefty excavation but it came to nothing. It has never really been dug properly. I would be delighted if local historical groups are successful, because they would have the well-being of the site at heart."

Source: Western Morning News (15 November 2004)

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