Highlights of the 2000 Excavations

Click to enlarge image of Stuart Holden
Stuart Holden took over as Site Supervisor for the University of Manchester Archaeological Unit in 2000. The work in 1998 and 1999 had established that Mellor had been the site of a large Iron Age Hillfort, the objectives set for the 2000 season of excavation therefore were to gain a fuller understading of the internal features, further investigate the defensive system and if possible to evaluate the origins of the site.

Click to enlarge image of Don Reid excavating the Ditch
In 2000 season the tree which had prevented further excavation in Trench 1 was cut down to allow excavation to reveal a full section of the inner defensive ditch. It was revealed to be an impressive metres wide and 2.1 metres deep, with a solid slab of Bedrock at the bottom.

Inner Ditch under the lawn

Click to enlarge image of Flints found in Trench 3 Click to enlarge plan of Trench 3
Another area focused on continued excavation of Trench 3 which had been covered and partly back filled at the end of the 1999 season. At the West end was found a post hole and a cluster of five Flint Flakes. The large area at the East end revealed complex archaeology with features dating from Mesolithic to Romano British. Shallow intercutting ditches and a narrow gulley were found to contain Roman Samian Ware but also much earlier Flints.

Click to enlarge image of stone lined hole
One unusual feature was an area where flat pieces of sandstone were held verically in place round the outside of a filled area, containing no later material within the feature. It is thought that this may have formed the post hole of a temporary structure, similar to one found at Deepcar in Yorkshire. It may have been a temporary structure of a light timber frame draped with skins, which would be held down in the slot by the rocks. See Pre Iron Age Structures Mellor

Click to enlarge image of matching sherds of Iron Age Pottery Cookie with Start Holden and the piece of Iron Age Pottery which matched a piece found last year
A remarkable find was a sherd of Iron Age pottery from Trench 1 which exactly matched one found the year before in 1990. The hunt for the continuation of the defensive ditch to the South were unsuccessful. Trench 11 was put in where Geophysics indicated anonomolies in the corner of the field South of the car park. Unfortunately these turned out to be a natural Geological Feature, as confirmed by a visit from two geologists, Fred Broadhurst and Morven Simpson. Trench 12 and Trench 13 in the car park also met without success.

 Click to enlarge image of Open Day Click to enlarge image of Cookie
The Friends of the Mellor Archaeological Trust was set up and Open Days were again held on the first Saturday and Sunday of September. The site began to attract many volunteers, some of whom were studying archaeology to GCSE an A at the local Ridge Danyers College, others were Studying at the University of Manchester and still more were qualified archaeologists between contacts who were gaining valuable experience on the site. Many of the same faces began to return year after year.

Read the full 2000 UMAU Archaeological Report