Barby Hill Archaeological Project

Reconstruction of a Late Iron Age Settlement
Download the CLASP (Community Landscape & Archaeology Survey Project) Report on the Barby Hill Iron Age Settlement which should be read in conjuction with the detail below.  

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.


A sample of the magnetometry results 



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.

Update on activities Summer 2014

The current focus is in the excavation of a trench that runs across the possible entrance and hearth of an Iron Age roundhouse. Work started at the beginning of June, two days a week with between 5 and 8 volunteers at each session – from the Barby team, CLASP and NARC.


The site was chosen because it was the roundhouse with discernible features closest to the edge of a field with crop. We have provided compensation to the farmer for loss of crop.



The two pictures on the right show the site and the emergence of a possible feature of stones. At the next session we will be investigating whether they are there by chance or for a reason.

Excavation Site

Emergence of possible stones feature 

Soil Samples



We have taken soil samples at different levels and around the full field and use a flotation kit borrowed from MOLA to filtrate the soil and reduce to the non-soil elements. Examples are shown below. Analysis of this will take place later in the year.

For more detailed information on this project Gren has written the following articles which you can download:

These reports and the analyses carried out upon them together with all the photographs contained in the reports were prepared by G.W. Hatton, who is the copyright owner. All intellectual property rights in this material are reserved to the copyright owner.

If you are interested in becoming involved in Barby Hill please contact either Gren (Chairman) 822411, Rob (Treasurer) 522865 or Alan (Secretary) 890726. You will be made most welcome.

The West Northamptonshire Local History (WNLH) website contains detailed historical information on Barby, Crick and Kilsby as well as a variety of historical topics all associated with West Northamptonshire (Note you need to register for free with WNLH to get access to these topics).