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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Bolt Tail

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas DECEMBER. 01, 2020


[118-365] 1st. December 2020- There is evidence for human activity at Bolt Tail from the flint tools that have been discovered here dating from the late Mesolithic (6000BC to 4000BC) and the Neolithic (4000 to 2200BC). However, the main archaeological monument at Bolt Tail is the Iron Age (700BC to 43AD) promontory fort.


A promontory fort is a defensive enclosure created by constructing ramparts across a neck of land, in order to defend, or restrict access to, a spur or promontory of land, often on the coast.


In this case, there is a single rampart running 260m across the headland. Towards the middle of the rampart there is an entrance near to a natural rock outcrop. Here the ramparts turn inwards to form the entrance.


No excavation has been carried out at Bolt Tail, but the form of the earthworks and the inward-turned entrance are similar to other promontory forts in the South West dating to about 300BC; so it is likely this promontory hill fort dates to the late Iron Age. The interior of the fort has been ploughed since as early as the 1840’s, so there are no visible evidence of building platforms or other settlement here. However, it is likely that there were wooden-built round houses within the fort. (Devon.gov.uk)


I happened upon this sight today which I believe is an archaeological survey in progress.

Geophysical survey is used to create maps of subsurface archaeological features. Features are the non-portable part of the archaeological record, whether standing structures or traces of human activities left in the soil. Geophysical instruments can detect buried features when their physical properties contrast measurably with their surroundings. In some cases individual artefacts, especially metal, may be detected as well. Readings taken in a systematic pattern become a data set that can be rendered as image maps. Survey results can be used to guide excavation and to give archaeologists insight into the patterning of non-excavated parts of the site. Unlike other archaeological methods, geophysical survey is neither invasive nor destructive. For this reason, it is often used where preservation (rather than excavation) is the goal, and to avoid disturbance of culturally sensitive sites such as cemeteries. (Wikipedia)

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