Archaeology Open Days

An exciting opportunity to observe the first archaeological dig at Wandlebury in almost 30 years. The most recent excavations at Wandlebury were carried out between 1994-7, by the Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Archaeological Unit. Through a combination of different archaeological techniques, the investigation found a Late-Bronze Age to Early-Iron Age settlement, pre-dating the main defensive earthworks.  

The current excavation will be carried out in the South Field where a geophysical magnetometer survey in 2023 showed a linear feature running northwest to southeast through the field. This feature has a stronger magnetic field than the surrounding area, which signifies that it is likely to be archaeological and worth investigating. 

The investigation will build on the earlier work and the feature could be a ‘missing link’ between the hillfort and the surrounding archaeology that could add to the knowledge of Wandlebury and its history.  

Introduction to Wandlebury’s Archaeology 

Wandlebury Country Park sits on top of a small chalk hill and is the highest point in the immediate area. The site is home to an Iron Age hillfort, referred to as the ‘Wandlebury Ring’, that is around 1,000 feet in diameter. Now consisting of two circular banks with a ditch between them, the hillfort covers an area of six hectares. Originally the hillfort would have consisted of three banks and two ditches, though this was changed in the 18th century. 

Hillforts, also known as ‘ringworks’, were constructed in the Iron Age (c.800C to c. AD43) and, like the site at Wandlebury, many hillforts were home to settlements. While the term “hillfort” suggests these sites were built mainly for defence, they were probably used for distinct functions and archaeologists continue to debate exactly what they would have been used for.  

 The Wandlebury hillfort is recognised as being nationally important and has Historic England Scheduled Monument status, which means the site is protected to preserve the archaeology under the surface. The current excavations are taking place outside the Scheduled area. 

Date: Saturday 27 April 2024 and Saturday 4 May 2024 

Time: 10am-4pm 

Location: Wandlebury Country Park 

Free event, suggested donation £3 

  • Excavation site tours 

  • Talk to archaeologists from the Department of Archaeology and the Cambridge Archaeological Unit 

  • Dress up like an Iron Age person 

  • Get hands on with prehistoric pottery techniques