Iron Age houses and settlements
Although there may have been some use of Iron Age hillforts as settlements,
archaeologists think that most people lived in separate hamlets or farmsteads.
Where would you live?
Where would you choose to live in the Iron Age? Think about what a settlement
needs. What kind of work would the people in the settlement be doing? It might
be helpful to write a list on a piece of paper of things that your village or town has
that settlements in the Iron Age wouldn’t have had.
Once you have made a list of everything an Iron Age settlement would need you
can decide where to build your settlement. Using the map of Buckinghamshire
before the hillforts, try to decide where you would like to live if you were alive in
the Iron Age. Search the Unlocking Buckinghamshire’s Past website to see
where all Iron Age settlements are in Buckinghamshire to see if they match up.
Iron Age houses would also look very different from your houses. Archaeologists
work out how houses looked when they do an excavation or when they see a
crop-mark from the air.
Houses from the air
Look at the aerial photograph below. Can you see anything that might look like a
house? Are there any other crop-marks associated with the house? What could
Archaeologists think that some of these circles seen from the air, which they call
ring-ditches, are the remains of Iron Age houses. To try and work out a bit more
about what houses looked like, archaeologists also need to look at excavations.
Houses on the ground
Look at this part of plans of excavations done at Coldharbour Farm in Aylesbury.
Can you see more ring-ditches, like the ones you saw on the aerial photographs?
What else is associated with them? Can you see the little pits on inside of the
ring-ditches? These would be to hold wooden posts, and archaeologists call
Look at pictures of some reconstructed ones on the Internet, either at Butser
Ancient Farm or at the Chiltern Open Air Museum.
Iron age house reconstructions
From the Internet and the reconstructed Iron Age houses, try and find the
answers to the following questions and write them here:
What are the houses made of?
What shape are they?
How are they heated?
How would they have been used?