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Prehistory in Northamptonshire

Find out who lived where you do thousands of years ago.
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East Northamptonshire Council has approved plans for a housing development adjacent to a Scheduled Monument, an Iron Age hill fort at Crow Hill (see more »)

Such projects are always controversial as councillors try to offset the need for more housing against a duty to preserve historical features. They usually try to strike a balance that does not destroy a whole site or, at the very least, requires thorough investigation and recording of the archaeology before it is compromised. In this instance, Historic England anticipates that careful development will actually preserve and enhance the important parts of the site.

The simple fact is that most of the county's towns and villages have been occupied since the Iron Age or even earlier and few developments can totally avoid land which, whether we recognise it or not, as been used and marked by our distant ancestors.

How much do you know about the land beneath your home and its ancient use?

The Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England has published inventories of archaeological remains in our county. In each of the six volumes, the towns and parishes are listed with links to detailed records of archaeological evidence found from as far back as the Neolithic period, right up to the recent past. They include Grid References pinpointing the sites and there are illustrations of maps and plans for some of the more important ones.

These are academic papers and, as whole, appear quite daunting, but if you are interested in the past of just your own village, the information is quite manageable and readable.

Your community may already have an Historical or Heritage Society which researches and shares and publishes this information. If not, why not start one? Often they produce books about the history of the community. Sometimes there are web pages to explore like this one:

Great Doddington Archaeology

There is fascinating detail to discover about every parish and community. Why not explore yours and tell us what you discover in our Facebook Group?

Hunsbury Hill

Hunsbury Hill, Northampton
Iron Age Hill Fort
(OS 1899)

Reproduced with the permission of
The National Library of Scotland