South Cadbury Environs Project
Cadbury Castle lies within the region defined broadly by the Somerset Levels and Mendip Hills to the north, Bruton Forest and the Vale of Blackmore to the east, the Cretaceous outcrop of North Dorset to the south, and the upper valley of the Rivers Parrett and Yeo to the west.
Cadbury Castle and other hillforts in west central southern Britain
The South Cadbury Environs Project study area is an 8 by 8 km square centred upon the hillfort. Fieldwork sampled five localities designed to reflect variations in the topography and geology.
The SCEP study area showing geology and sampling localities
Geophysics, ploughzone sampling with test pits and excavation are all part of the sampling strategy. Fairly early in the Projectís lifetime it was decided to abandon fieldwalking as the results were too heavily biased by the extensive erosion and colluviation within the study area. Similarly, shovel pitting the topsoil proved non-informative and was rejected after initial use. Since 1998, therefore, SCEP methodology has been based on large-scale geophysics supported by test-pitting at pre-given intervals, with targeted test pits replacing topsoil sampling since 2003. The programme has been supplemented by large and small-scale targeted excavation. A full discussion of sampling issues and their relevance to SCEP can be found in Tabor (2004) and†Tabor and Johnson (2000).