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Stokeleigh Camp is an Iron Age promontory hillfort situated in North Somerset in the Great Britain. The camp occupies approximately three hectares of land. It is one of the three major fortifications of Iron Age, which overlook the Avon George. The other two fortifications are the Clifton Camp, positioned on the opposite side of the gorge next to Observatory and Burwalls, which are located to the south of the Nightingale (Muir & Welfare 1983, p. 41).
The Stokeleigh Camp, an Iron Age promontory hillfort, is believed to have been developed in the late Bronze Age. However, the actual development process was completed in the early Iron Age. It is not clear why the Stokeleigh Camp and other fortifications were developed in Britain. The subject has raised a lot of debate and it remains one of the most controversial issues in the field of archaeology (Thomas 1976, p. 4). Some archaeologists argue that the fortifications could have been established as military sites during the time in which Britain was experiencing several wars. The sites could have been built by the invaders or the by the Briton militants who were protecting the rising England population against military invasions (Muir & Welfare 1983, p. 42).
History of the Site
Most of the archaeologists feel that the development of the Stokeleigh Camp came as a result of the discovery and the increased use of iron in England, which in turn led to enormous social changes within the region. There were deposits of iron ore as well as copper and tin ore, in convenient places where the manufacturing of bronze took place. As iron edged weapons became more available, the old elites did not only lose their wealth, but also their social status in the society. As a result, supremacy and leadership shifted from the old elites to a new group of people (Thomas 1976, p. 9).
As people continued to take to the new form of trade, their economic status improved leading to a drastic increase in population. The ever increasing rise in population played a great role in the emergence of the Stokeleigh Camp. The increase in population came with a lot of social problems such as stress. The fortification such as the Stokeleigh Camp provided defensive mechanisms for the communities in these areas in that era when social problems exploded into warfare (Muir & Welfare 1983, p. 45).
A pre-visit study to Stokeleigh Camp was conducted to help determine the best sites of the area that need to be surveyed. The pre-visit also helped to determine the best tools for the survey. For the survey, a grid of 1000 was used to avoid obtaining negative numbers. The survey was conducted at a high resolution by using GPS in grids that are located at regular distances to determine the measurement for subtle variations in height (Wilkinson 2007, p. 40).
The earthwork survey was conducted using a Geosan 610 total station combined with logger. The total station assisted in mapping the breaks of slope across Stokeleigh Camp. The data was processed and printed in a ratio of 1:1000. In addition, the earthwork survey was located by mapping several boundary features, which were contained in the previous surveys. Features such as ridge and furrows were not mapped in the survey (Wilkinson 2007, p. 41).
Muir, R, & Welfare, H 1983, The national trust guide to prehistoric and Roman Britain, Philip, London.
Thomas, N 1976, A guide to prehistoric England, Book Club Associates, London.
Wilkinson, P 2007, Archaeology: what it is, where it is, and how to do it, Archaeopress, Oxford.