Prehistoric Mellor – Living on the Edge: Free Book Download

The COVID-19 pandemic has a brought a temporary halt to voluntary and community archaeology fieldwork in Britain, although many groups have continued to undertake post-excavation work and documentary research. Some organisations such as the Council for British Archaeology and DigVentures have innovated in providing online resources and festivals. There is always a backlog of fieldwork to report upon since the post-excavation process can take many years. One such example is the research undertaken at the Prehistoric and Roman hilltop site of Mellor, in Stockport, by the Mellor Archaeological Trust.

Volunteers standing in the excavated inner ditch at the Mellor dig in 2003.

Extensive excavation of this regionally important settlement on the north-western fringes of the Peak District was undertaken with the help of archaeologists from the Universities of Manchester and Salford between 1997 and 2010. The project produced finds from the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Romano-British, and Medieval periods. The focus of the site was a double-ditched hilltop enclosure occupied from the 5th century BC to the end of the Roman period, and re-used in the later medieval period. Post-excavation analysis of the site is now complete and the results are in the final stages of preparation for publication by the Trust.

There are, though, a series of technical interim and finds reports on the site. There are also two articles in the Current Archaeology magazine (issue 189 in 2004 and issue 257 in 2011) and a chapter in John and Ann Hearle’s volume Mellor Through the Ages, published in 2011, that describe some of the discoveries. These reports have already flagged the importance of the site in terms of its late prehistoric finds assemblage and Roman material. None more so that the extensive interim study published in 2005 under the title ‘Mellor: Living on the Edge‘. Now out of print, it is this volume that I want to highlight in this blog post and to make available as a pdf here:

The monograph is based upon a study day held by the Trust in April 2003. Whilst the volume, which was published in 2005, only covers the excavations from 1997 to 2004 it follows the aim of that day which was to place the site it its regional context with a focus on the late Prehistoric and Roman material but current researchers from around the North West and beyond. There was a conscious effort to follow on from the research published in the ‘Living on the Edge‘ volume in 1999 in providing the latest research into these two periods in the southern part of North West England. That earlier volume is available elsewhere on this blog. Whilst much of this material is now out of date the discussion of the regional context remains important in showing the development of ideas that still shape the subject in our region in the third decade of the 21st century.

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