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Old Oswestry Hillfort and its Landscape: Ancient Past, Uncertain Future
edited by Tim Malim and George Nash. Paperback; 205x290mm; 254 pages; 117 figures, 34 plates, 5 tables. 637 2020. Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781789696110. Epublication ISBN 9781789696127.
Book contents page
Old Oswestry is considered to be one of England's most precious archaeological jewels, described by Sir Cyril Fox in the 1930s as 'the outstanding work of the Early Iron Age type on the Marches of Wales', and its design is unique amongst hillforts in the UK. Located on the edge of the Shropshire Plain and just a kilometre north of the market town of Oswestry, the hillfort (and its hinterland landscape) can trace activity through artefactual evidence back at least 5000 years, with the last 3000 years evident as earthworks. The reader will notice that little in the way of archaeological investigation has occurred within the hillfort, and indeed, more excavation took place when its internal space became a training ground for trench warfare during World War I than through any academic endeavour.

Old Oswestry Hillfort and its Landscape: Ancient Past, Uncertain Future, organised into 14 well-crafted chapters, charts the archaeology, folklore, heritage and landscape development of one of England's most enigmatic monuments, from the Iron Age, through its inclusion as part of an early medieval boundary between England and Wales, to its role during World War I when, between 1915 and 1918, over 4000 troops (including Oswestry's own great war poet Wilfrid Owen), were being trained at any one time for the Western Front.

This book also discusses in detail the recent threats to the monument's special landscape from insensitive development and its alternative potential to act as a heritage gateway for the recreational and economic benefit of Oswestry and surrounding communities.

About the Editors
Tim Malim is a graduate of the Institute of archaeology, London, and has worked in many parts of the UK and abroad as an archaeologist during a 40-year career. After working for Cambridge University and English Heritage as part of the Fenland Survey in the 1980s, he set up and directed the Archaeological Field Unit of Cambridgeshire County Council in the 1990s and was a course director at Cambridge University’s extra-mural department, Madingley Hall. Currently, he is head of the heritage team at SLR Consulting, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and Chairman of the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers. He has excavated a wide range of sites, and his main research interests include British prehistory and the Anglo-Saxons, with specialist knowledge of the fens, wetland archaeology and its preservation, ancient routeways, and Anglo-Saxon dykes. He has published eight books and over 50 other articles, and is a resident of Oswestry, having moved to Shropshire in 2002.

George Nash is an Associate Professor at Geosciences Centre of Coimbra University ITM (Earth and Memory Institute), Polytechnic Institute of Tomar (IPT), Portugal, as well as working for SLR Consulting, an environmental planning consultancy based in the UK. His academic specialisms include the study of prehistoric and contemporary art, prehistoric architecture, mortuary practices, and buildings. In 2014 he was part of a successful HLF bid to excavate two sections of the practice trenching at Walney Island, Cumbria. For SLR Consulting, George has undertaken a number of projects for BAE Systems and the MoD including building assessments at six former Royal Ordnance Factories, the World War II Tank Factory at Manston Road, Leeds, and more recently, at former RAF Abingdon (now the British Army’s Dalton Barracks, west of Oxford). Since 2012, George has been an active member of the protest group HOOOH and has made an extensive study of the practice trenches in and around the hillfort.

Reviews
'Articles about the region and other forts (in one the intervisiblity of sites is mapped impressively onto tribal boundaries), Old Oswestry's setting, links to Arthurian myths, tribal identity in the Roman-contact era and more, should encourage further research and local affection, adding substance to outrage.'—Mike Pitts, British Archaeology, No. 176

'...the volume solidly demonstrates the amount of new work and thought which can be directed towards, or focused around, a major hillfort, and its landscape and one hopes similar initiatives may be targeted towards other famous prehistoric monuments which have languished for too long at the edges of modern research.'—Toby Driver, Archaeologia Cambrensis 170 (2021)



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