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Site 11 - Iron Age Enclosure

Gibbet Hill Road represents the probable continuation of the prehistoric Hollow Way, which runs from Westwood past Brickyard Plantation (see Sma' Lane, Westwood Iron Age Settlement and Barrow and Windmill). Within Tocil Wood, close by the road, is the site of a small, defended rectilinear (roughly rectangular) Iron Age enclosure. This was significantly smaller than the Iron Age settlement at Westwood and was probably of a later date since excavation here revealed fragments of Roman pottery from the early 1st century AD, buried by the collapse of the rampart, along with examples of local Iron Age wares. Since the excavation also demonstrated three phases of revetting to the front of the rampart, the prehistoric settlement in Tocil wood can be assigned to a period extending from the late 1st century BC into the 1st century AD, up to the Roman occupation of the Midlands from about AD 60.

Tocil Wood Iron Age
enclosure as seen today
Pollen samples from the buried topsoil hidden by the construction of the rampart were of particular interest. As well as confirming the attribution of the site to the late Iron Age, they proved conclusively that at the time the Iron Age settlement was constructed, it was created within deciduous woodland containing oak as the dominant species, with hazel undergrowth. Holly, maple and sycamore pollen were absent from the record, being respectively Roman, medieval and post-medieval introductions to the region. The results of the pollen analysis indicate that Tocil Wood is truly ancient woodland, being at least 2000 years old.


An artist's impression
of the defensive perimeter

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