The discovery of Iron Age round-house circles on top of Barby Hill during repairs to a water reservoir suggested that this hilltop once housed what may have been a sizeable community.
A project was established in 2010 under the leadership of Gren Hatton, a local historian living in Kilsby, to assess and map the full extent of the archaeology on and around the hilltop. An additional objective set was to involve the local community wherever possible, to encourage local involvement in the work and promote local interest in the community’s heritage.
Following initial funding from county level and from the local parish, Barby Hill Archaeological Project, consisting of representatives of local archaeology and other bodies, was formerly established to provide oversight of the work and of the finances.
A wide range of activities have been carried out between May 2011 and August 2013 across nearly 6 hectares of arable and pasture fields including:
- Field-walking within grids (looking for anything of potential archaeological value) by experienced individuals from a local association (the Community Landscape & Archaeology Survey Project - CLASP) working with local volunteers.
- Metal detection by experienced individuals from the Northamptonshire Artefact Recovery Club (NARC).
- Washing and archiving of finds again involving a mix of experts and local volunteers.
- Geophysics surveys (Magnetometry) led by an experienced member of CLASP with trained local volunteers. A sample of the magnetometry results are shown below - the circles are thought to represent residual traces of Iron Age Roundhouses.
It has been established that the Iron Age round house settlement spread over at least 4 hectares, with no signs yet detected of the limits of occupation, and further evidence has been gathered of on-going activity on the hill during the Roman period. Information has also been gained on the later development and usage of the hilltop in the early post-medieval period.