High Peak of historical past

The dig The dig

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
9:42 AM

A hill near Ladram Bay has given up its secrets and archaeologists have revealed that it was populated variously by Stone Age communities and latterly by the Romans.

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Replica stone axe head held by Tom Cadbury (Royal Albert Memorial Museum) at High Peak  Volunteers at the High Peak archaeological digReplica stone axe head held by Tom Cadbury (Royal Albert Memorial Museum) at High Peak Volunteers at the High Peak archaeological dig

The work, at High Peak Camp, a mile from the bay, was only possible following the felling of diseased trees last year.

And now the hill’s story has been illustrated on two new interpretive boards at the site.

The dig, funded by the South West Coast Path Unlocking Coastal Heritage project, was carried out to try and discover more about how this enigmatic site has been used over past centuries

Many new artefacts were revealed which has helped archaeologists piece together the history of the site.

They have revealed that the site was first used between 6,000 and 4,000 years ago, and remains of stone axes were found.

It was previously thaought hat the site was then occupied during Iron Age Britain, from around 700BC to the Roman invasion 43AD.

But the team found no evidence that the site was used at all during the Iron Age.

The site was then next used in the period when the Romans left the country approximately 1500 years ago.

The remains of large earthenware bottles that contained wine and olive oil which had been brought to the area by boat from eastern Mediterranean countries, were found.

One of the panels features a reconstruction drawing of what life might have looked like during the Stone Age with the men making stone tools and the women making the distinctive pots of the era.

The second board, located on Peak Hill looking towards High Peak, features early paintings of the site made by Peter Orlando Hutchinson the Victorian antiquarian.

These water colours show how much the landscape has changed in the intervening 150 years since they were painted.

l “Why not take a stroll from Peak Hill over the Christmas holiday period, it’s a great excuse to walk off those festive excesses whilst learning about our rich heritage,” said Pete Youngman, East Devon AONB project officer.

The whole project has been a joint effort between landowners Clinton Devon Estates, Devon County Council, the South West Coast Path Team and the East Devon AONB Partnership.

Go to: www.eastdevonaonb.org.uk

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