Sharing elements with a standard regional study of a hillfort in geographical context, this series of papers is distinctly wider in scope. It is neither underpinned by recent excavation, nor by reassessment in detail of the 1930s interventions. Instead, ten authors tackle three themes in 14 chapters. They examine the detailed configuration and Iron Age regional setting of the hillfort, before assessing aspects of its cultural biography and that of its surroundings over more-recent centuries, continuing through to military impact during the World Wars. A critical examination of the planning framework and decision-making in regard to housing developments that threatened (and seemingly still threaten) to encroach on the site’s setting follows. A project that envisages the hillfort as the lynchpin of a future ‘heritage gateway’ is presented. The editors intend the book as an ‘inspiration to help safeguard the hillfort’, an aim achieved, although some wider opinions and interpretations are not uncontentious.
Old Oswestry Hillfort and its Landscape: ancient past, uncertain future, Tim Malim and George Nash (eds), Archaeopress, £45, IBSN 978-1789696110.
Review by Ian Ralston.