South Cadbury Environs Project

Early Bronze Age

The marked variation in pottery distribution suggests that the methodology has successfully characterised foci of activity and that negative evidence, quite simply where finds of the period have not been found, genuinely reflects preferences in the pattern of land use. A preference for south through to west-facing slopes, steep and gentle, or locations immediately above them, is discernible in the south of locality 1, west and east of Cadbury Castle and in locality 5. North facing locations in the north of locality 1a and north of the pre-hillfort appear to be associated with a river and a spring respectively.

Other findspots are on nearly flat low or high ground. In a landscape where the population was well below its holding capacity south-facing settlement is predictable. These topographic preferences on their own are not enough to indicate widespread arable agriculture nor are the long linear boundary systems which are more consistent with the management of livestock. More compelling is the marked preference for lighter, more tractable soils, and the avoidance of heavy soils in localities 1 and 1a and north of locality 2, and north-facing slopes generally. On the sides and in the bottoms of several valleys in localities 2, 4 and 5, small sherds of Early Bronze Age pottery and sparse flints from test pits are associated charcoal-flecked hillwashes of up to 60cm (24in) depth. These soils, some sealed by as much as two metres of overburden, constitute the first major phase of anthropogenic erosion.

Test pit distribution map showing Early Bronze Age activity

Test pit evidence for Early Bronze Age activity

View Larger Image

Go to top of page