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Iron Age "Housing Estate" Uncovered by University of Warwick Researchers

Dr Stephen Hill on the site
Originally Published 01 Augest 2002

Researchers at the University of Warwick have discovered the outline of 15 late iron age roundhouses on the University of Warwick's campus. This discovery marks the earliest evidence of settlement within the modern boundary of the City of Coventry.

The 15 building outlines uncovered so far appear to be just the edge of a larger complex of iron age structures, bounded on side by a small river and leading back to the site of a neolithic (late stone age) track or pathway. The number and size of the roundhouses uncovered makes it a significant English Iron Age site and one of the most significant such sites in the West Midlands - a veritable Iron Age housing estate to use a modern analogy.

The roundhouse outlines uncovered so far are on the large side - the largest being 15 metres in diameter. Dr Stephen Hill, the University of Warwick archaeologist, supervising the archaeological dig believes the site dates from the 1st century BC or the 1st century AD and the inhabitants were probably pushed off the site by the incoming Romans in the first century AD (there is considerable evidence of Roman presence on the University of Warwick site and the Coventry area as a whole). Some Iron age pottery has been recovered from the site and a significant quantity of animal bones from the period are also present.

The site was uncovered during the construction of a special £365,000 high tech all weather sports pitch for the University which has been specially designed for both football and rugby games. Old aerial photographs of the site did suggest that there was some sort of archaeology on the site so the University's estates department have been co-operating closely with Dr Hill and the City of Coventry's archaeologists in the handling of the site. When the archaeologists are finished examining the site the University will proceed with the construction of the sports pitch taking care to preserve and limit the impact on the archaeology underneath.

Aerial pictures of the site can be seen at:

Thump nail Aerial Picture 1 Thump nail Aerial Picture 2 Thump nail Aerial Picture 3

Aerial Picture 1

Aerial Picture 2

Aerial Picture 3

NB all of the above are very large 400dpi pictures

Information on Iron Age roundhouses and their construction can be found on the BBC?s web site by following the link on this page: