Excavations

The archaeological excavations at Danebury were led by Professor Barry Cunliffe of Oxford University between 1969 and 1988.

PitsBuildingsRemoving spoilChanging use

Excavations at Danebury uncovered pits in the ground. These pits were made by the people who lived at the fort and many of them were used to store grain. The pits were dug from the chalk using tools such as mattocks. They had a narrow entrance, so the base was wider than the neck of the pit.

Pits from the air

The pits were filled with grain and then sealed. Some of the grain would begin to germinate. This would use up the oxygen in the pit and replace it with carbon dioxide. This helped the grain keep for a year or more.

As well as thousands of pits, archaeologists also discovered the remains of 500 buildings.

Excavation showing buildings

Someone is excavating in the middle of one in this photo. The square building has probably been built on top of an circular pit that has been filled in, which is why the circular shapes cross the straight lines.

These buildings were probably made of wood and used for storing grain.

Archaeologists often have to dig through different layers of earth to get to the period of history they are studying.

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A cart on tracks was used to remove the spoil from the site.

People lived at Danebury for around 650 years, there are different layers of archaeology at the site hat built up over the centuries.

Buildings were built and then moved or left to decay when they weren’t needed. Pits were dug and then filled in when they were no longer in use.

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You can see lots of pits that were used at different times, but also the semi-circular outlines of two roundhouses... the person at the back is standing in one of them.

Professor Cunliffe with visitors
Professor Cunliffe showing a group of visitors around the site around 30 years ago