Fin Cop Hill Fort      Unearthing a massacre
Lecture held on March 14th 2012 at the Methodist Church Hall, Delph

The lecture was given by Jim Brightman, senior archaeologist at Archaeology Research Services Derbyshire.


The site is situated north west of Bakewell and is a scarp edge enclosure, steep sided down to the river, and has been dated as Late Bronze or Middle Iron period from residue found in pots. The site can be viewed from the Monsal Head area.


The excavations were initiated by the Longstone Historical Group, via Archaeology Research Services, and with the help of the Peak National Park. Fifty test pits were dug by school children, there were over 1000 volunteers. The top of the hill was expected to have little sediment but there was over a metre of top soil containing artefacts such as stone axe heads, flints and pot shards. A trench was cut across the ditch and bank. The ditch was two metres deep and the bank was an inner rampart limestone wall made with large dressed stones. The ditch contained animal bones, plant remains, iron-age pots and the skeleton of a pregnant woman buried under the remains of the wall. A further nine skeletons were found buried under stones, pregnant women, and babies, and a young boy in a crouched position.
In the Twenties a cave was excavated nearby where another young boy’s skeleton was found, now awaiting dating by English Heritage .


The fort would have been inhabited by hunter gatherers initially followed by Neolithic, Beaker and Late Bronze people. The outer bank was of rubble and earth and would appear to have been hastily constructed. The fort may not have been finished before being sacked and the more vulnerable people killed. The excavation work won the best community project in 2010 and National Archaeology awards and featured in the Longstone School well dressing event. Archaeology Research Services receive no Lottery funding, but the BBC have shown interest and Cranfield students are involved in the skeleton analysis.


Mr Brightman was thanked for his very interesting lecture.



Edith Howarth     

© Saddleworth Archaeological Trust , 2012