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Name: Shelagh Norton

PhD: Landscape and Environmental Archaeology

Thesis Title: The Iron Age marsh forts of North Shropshire

Thesis Description:

The Iron Age in Britain is noted for its upstanding and highly visible hillfort monuments. However, a number of monuments - similar to hillforts both in terms of architecture and chronology - are found in low-lying marshland settings, the antithesis of their prominent counterparts. These 'marsh forts' are so far only recorded, in isolation, in Eastern England, and the only example excavated in detail (Sutton Common, nr. Doncaster) indicates non-domestic, ritual usage. 

  • Are 'marsh forts' a separate class of monument ?
  • Do they exist outside of the Fens?

  • Do they share a purpose, and a chronology?

  • Do they exist in the wetlands of North Shropshire?
Concentrating principally on the marshland Iron Age fortifications at The Berth, Baschurch and Wall Camp, Kynnersley, my research will  use palaeoenvironmental and landscape analysis to :-
•Examine the environmental archaeology and landscape development of  marsh forts in the North Shropshire wetlands
•Compare the results with other marsh forts  (e.g. in Eastern England) and with the hillforts in the nearby Welsh Marches.


Supervisors and Institution(s): 

I am supervised by Dr David Smith for the palaeoenvironmental element of my research. At this micro level, I am concentrating on the study of fossilised beetle remains and plant macrofossils to enable localised site interpretation. Analysis of pollen and palynomorphs may be an added to the mix to provide additional detail. 

There are a number of Iron Age sites across the meres and mires of the North Shropshire landscape which may qualify for the title 'marsh fort'. At this  more macro level, Dr Henry Chapman supervises my study of landscape and supports my developing knowledge and skill in the use of ArcGIS.

Dr Roger White is my mentor, and provides me with a reference point for Iron Age/Roman studies. 

My home institution is University of Birmingham.


Publications (please include full details with page nos. or web links):

I have published a column in the Shropshire Archaeological Society Newsletter (Notes related to The Berth), and a full article is to be published in the forthcoming Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society (June 2016 - Palaeoentomological Studies of the Weald Moors, Shropshire). Further articles are planned.

Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:

The following events detail my public engagement so far: 

  1. November 2013 - private presentation to the family/friends at Wall Farm Kynnersley detailing my research at Wall Camp Iron Age fort (MPhil; UoB 2013).
  2. June 2014 - University of Birmingham Poster Competition
  3. November 2014 - Association of Environmental Archaeology Conference, University of Plymouth - presentation with accompanying poster
  4. February 2015 - University of the Third Age - presentation
  5. Iron Age Research Student Symposium - June 2015 - presentation
  6. Palaeoenvironmental findings at the Berth - 1st and 2nd year Archaeology Students - University of Birmingham - June 2016
  7. Hillfort Studies Group - Nov 2016 - presentation
  8. The archaeological and palaeoenvironmental potential of the Weald Moors, Shropshire - article - Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society, 2016
  9. M3C - May 2017 - poster presentation
  10. Trustees of the John  Pagett Trust - April 2017 - presentation
  11. M3C - May 2018 - research relay presentation
  12. Birmingham Archaeological Society and Wrekin Historic Group - presentations arranged for spring 2019
  13. The Berth - an ongoing puzzle -  Shropshire Archaeological and Historic Society Newsletter (arranged for November 2018) 


Other Research Interests:

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