28th April 2017:

Oxford Archaeology is supporting a new Heritage Lottery Funded project to develop, promote and research Britain's lowest lying Iron Age hill fort, Stonea Camp, near March in Cambridgeshire.

Cambridgeshire County Council has owned the site since the First World War and the council’s archaeological field unit (now Oxford Archaeology East) excavated at Stonea Camp over three seasons in the early 1990s. Following the excavations, a programme re-instating the earthworks began and the site was opened to the general public.

The new Heritage Lottery Funded project, 'From the Iron Age to the App Age', involves a series of talks to local community groups and schools, three fun-packed open day events for the public and the creation of a mobile app to provide a more immersive visitor experience. The project is managed by 20Twenty Productions CIC of March, in partnership with Wimblington HCC and Fenland Bushcraft. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, they have been granted £37,500 to explore, document and raise public awareness of the site.

Stephen Macaulay and Clemency Cooper of OA East have commissioned non-intrusive archaeological surveys of the site and are helping to coordinate and run the open day activities. Now a Senior Project Manager at OA East, Stephen Macaulay was involved in the Cambridgeshire Archaeological Field Unit's excavations at Stonea Camp led by Tim Malim. An interview with Stephen Macaulay is now available on the new Stonea Camp YouTube channel (embedded below) in which he describes the recovery of skeletons at Stonea Camp during these excavations which are believed to date from the time of the Iceni Queen Boudicca.

Tacitus writes of a battle between the Iceni and the Roman auxiliary force under Governor Scapula in AD 47 and Stonea may have been the location of this battle. The excavations uncovered adult bones with swords marks and the hacked skull of a young child. It is thought that Boudicca’s father-in-law was killed during this battle and her husband Prasutagus subsequently became client-King under Roman rule. 

The first of three open days bringing this exciting history to life was held at Stonea on Friday, 21st April 2017. Over 150 students and staff from Burrowmoor Primary School and Cavalry Primary School in March, and Thomas Eaton Community Primary School in Wimblington, visited the site for a morning of hands-on activities. OA provided sand-pit dig boxes, replica pots to reconstruct and ran an archaeological timeline activity.

stonea camp open day 1

In feedback from Cavalry Primary School after the event, one student said: "Thank you for organising the trip to Stonea Camp. It was so fun I wish I could do it again. I'm so thankful I don't know how to put it into words. The activity I enjoyed the most was trying to fix the pottery. It was hard work but (I had) fun trying. The most interesting fact I learnt was that the Romans invaded Stonea but didn't live there!"

Members of March U3A and other local residents visited the site in the afternoon for a guided walk and an introduction to archaeological survey tools and methods, including a demonstration of the geophysical survey techniques of magnetometry and resistivity. A geophysical survey of Stonea has been conducted by Magnitude Surveys which will help to inform future management and research of the site. Ahead of the open day, Jamie Quartermaine of OA North also undertook a drone flight to capture aerial images in order to create a 3D model of the site which is now uploaded to OA's Sketchfab account and can be viewed below.

For more information about Stonea Camp and upcoming events visit the new Stonea Camp website.