Three sites were partially surveyed in 2010, with the help of Groundwork volunteers trained by Al Oswald of English Heritage.
One site, Naden Head has already been mentioned in earlier posts, the two other sites, were discovered.in 2010. A fourth site discovered in 2007 was the subject of an inconclusive geophysical survey in 2010, a possible barrow lies to the west of this, naturally defensive site.
The Hill Fort
Hill forts are extremely rare in Lancashire and this appears to be in a better state of preservation than the scheduled hill fort north of Bury, known as Castlesteads. Castlesteads had a single ditch, Portfield Camp near Whalley, Lancashire is perhaps closer in construction and has similar dimensions to the site near Rochdale.
I found the Medieval reference to the hill fort in November 2012, the site was discovered in 2010 using aerial photography and field work.
How could anyone miss this? this area has never been archaeologically surveyed!
I have blanked out the background to hide the exact location, it has been reported to English Heritage, but not visited by them yet.
Surprising Archaeological Discoveries North of Manchester
During 2009/2010 major archaeological sites were discovered, including a fortified site and burial sites, as old as four thousand years old. This information is made public today. The two thousand year old fortified site (hill fort), with triple ditches (about 75 Metres in length), was described as “ancient” in a Latin manuscript from 800 years ago.
A nearby site has a bank (clearly visible) cutting off a peninsula of land. There are also extensive early cultivation sites and field boundaries as well as many ruined farmsteads. One expanse of moorland is punctured by dozens of small pits, of unknown origin, some big enough to fall into, but never recorded on any maps of the area. Many more sites remain undiscovered, even though they are above ground.
Whitworth, to the north of Rochdale, has around one hundred medieval charters referring to smallholders land transfers in the area, which firmly secures it’s place as one of the best documented medieval villages in the country. However a 2007 archaeological survey just west of Whitworth found no medieval evidence for the area, and ignored the ruins of the nearby medieval manor house.
It is imperative that this information is made public whilst there is still time to save this rich historical landscape.