Hereford ditch provides information on ancient boundaries

Last summer, I spent a week near Hereford excavating an Iron Age Hill Fort with the Time Team crew.  It was my first experience with “banks and ditches” and I learned a lot about the way they were employed throughout history.  It’s no surprise then that this article caught my attention:

A Bronze Age earth ditch has been found in Hereford which archaeologists say may have been used to mark the city’s old tax boundary.

It is 5m (16ft) deep in places and was found using aerial, laser scanning equipment to map the land’s contours.

The ditch has been filled in with earth over the years and now resembles only a slight depression at ground level.

It runs from Aubrey Street to the River Wye via King Street and may have marked the limit of the king’s jurisdiction.

Site archaeologists said Norman settlements inside the ditch probably fell under the king’s jurisdiction and tax district, while land outside of the ditch beside Hereford Cathedral belonged to the bishop.

Dr Keith Ray, Herefordshire’s county archaeologist, said digital mapping had also produced images of Hereford by night, which highlight the city’s open spaces and dense pattern of narrow alleyways in the historic centre.

He said: “The study concludes that Hereford has one of the best-preserved historic city centres anywhere in England, in which medieval neighbourhoods can still be traced to this day.”

From BBC

Visit Herefordshire Archaeology

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Did you know: Hereford was once the site of a castle, Hereford Castle, which rivalled that of Windsor in size and scale. This was a base for repelling Welsh attacks and a secure stronghold for English kings such as King Henry IV when on campaign in the Welsh Marches against Owain Glyndŵr. The castle was dismantled in the 1700s and landscaped into Castle Green.

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