History and heritage of our landscape

Delving into our hidden history…

The green spaces that Earth Trust look after are steeped in history – in fact, the impact of people on our landscape goes back thousands of years. From the Iron Age communities who created the hillfort on Castle Hill, to the farmers and tenants who manage the land today – this area has been shaped by human use and intervention throughout the ages.

As we work towards a society where people and nature thrive in balance, there is much we can learn from the ancient people of the Clumps.

Digging up the past

Archaeological excavations have helped us to uncover fascinating stories of the lives of our ancestors who settled, lived and worked here.

The first archaeological excavations at Wittenham Clumps started in 2003, and more recent investigations took place from 2019-2021 where a vast Iron Age and Roman settlement was uncovered.

Before 2400 BCE

Stone Age

Excavated flint artefacts revealed that huntergatherers visited Castle Hill during Mesolithic and Neolithic times.

2400 BCE – 800 BCE

Bronze Age

There is evidence of Bronze Age activity at Wittenham Clumps with house posts arranged in circles suggesting people lived in roundhouses.

800 BCE – 43 CE

Iron Age

Castle Hill was an Iron Age hillfort, with a large settlement at the foot of the hill which housed a few hundred people. Thousands of important Iron Age finds have been uncovered, including pottery, animal bones, wool spinning weights and several amazingly well preserved human skeletons.

43 CE – 410 CE


The Roman settlement at Wittenham included a large villa and at least two cemeteries. Investigations have revealed abundant animal bones, ironwork, coins and large pieces of broken Roman pottery. Roman trackways and buildings have been found on Round Hill.

410 CE – 1066 CE


Exciting finds unearthed

In 2021, the DigVentures team unearthed exciting findings from the Bronze, Iron and Roman Ages at the site of the Earth Trust Centre – all just metres apart.

The findings included five iron age roundhouses, a large storage pit, and a Roman villa.  Here are just a few of their discoveries…

Take a closer look at the dig site

Check out this video to see the recording of the live Virtual Tour with our archaeologists.

Archaeology holds all the keys to understanding who we are and where we come from.

Sarah Parcak