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Transactions of the Symposium on Photo Interpretation

particular settlement is also of unusual interest in that, after it had fallen into
disuse, it was partly overlaid by a smaller settlement formed by two banks.
A single ring-groove house survives in the remains of the earlier and larger settle
ment, while three of a variety of ring-ditch houses are visible on the surface
of the ground in the smaller and later settlement.
The very few excavations which have so far been carried out among all
timber enclosures and houses of the types described have shown that they
represent early settlements of the local Iron Age, which may date at least
from the 3rd century B.C., if indeed not earlier. Much more remains to be done
upon them, both to elucidate the great varieties in structural form which occur
among them, and to determine a more elaborate and intimate pattern of
dating. It is already apparent that they represent a phase of widespread settle
ment, the existence of which had not previously been established.
They constitute by far the largest and the most valuable advance in know
ledge of the earlier parts of the Iron Age in Britain to have been made in recent
years. Their survival and discovery have depended equally, on the one hand,
upon the nature of the ground in which they lie and, on the other, upon the
expert use of air photographs in the form of stereoscopic pairs at a scale of
A few similar or related structures have been found by other means both
here and elsewhere. Among these must first be mentioned the few all-timber
settlements and houses which have been brought to light by chance from be
neath hill-forts or other evidently secondary settlements in which excavations
have taken place. Second are a few which have appeared as crop-markings on
air photographs of one kind or another. The former class have, of course been
seriously mutilated by the dwellings and other works of the later occupants of
the sites, while the latter have been shaved so nearly to oblivion by the action
of the plough that little but the bottoms of ditches and post-holes survive,
and the occupation levels have been swept away.
At present, only a few unspoiled examples have been recorded outside the
areas covered by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monu
ments of Scotland, some of them in adjacent Northumberland and at least
one in Wales. It is more than probable, however, that many additional exam
ples will eventually be recorded before afforestation or other perils destroy
them; and that as threatened examples are excavated, a whole new body of
evidence about the Early Iron Age in Britain will emerge.