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Database of thousands of ancient hill forts available online

Thousands of ancient hill forts across Ireland and Britain have been located and published in a new online database.
The online atlas has been created following a study by researchers from University College Cork, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Oxford.
Database of thousands of ancient hill forts available online. Picture copyright Heritage Ireland
The locations of more than 4,000 sites has been recorded. Most date back to the Iron Age, from 800BC to the Roman invasion of Britain in 43AD.
Prof Ian Ralston of the University of Edinburgh was one of the leaders of the project. He said: “Standing on a windswept hill fort with dramatic views across the countryside, you really feel like you’re fully immersed in history.
“This research project is all about sharing the stories of the thousands of hill forts across Britain and Ireland in one place that is accessible to the public and researchers.”
The west coast of Ireland, particularly Counties Mayo and Cork, has the most frequent occurrence of hill forts, with 145 between them.
The hill forts are popular attractions for historians and tourists when visiting an area.
Despite their name, not all of them are on hills, or even forts. Many are found in lower grounds and are thought to have been meeting points for various festivals and trade.
Professor Gary Lock from the University of Oxford is delighted the database has been made freely available to the public.
He said: “We hope it will encourage people to visit some incredible hill forts that they may never have known were right under their feet.”
If you would like to find out more and see the database then visit hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk/.

Written by Andrew Moore