PRESS RELEASE Heritage experts to speak at hillfort seminar

Experts in archaeology and British heritage will be travelling to Oswestry to speak at a forthcoming seminar and exhibition on the town’s Iron Age hillfort, Old Oswestry.

The free half day seminar, ‘In Defence of Old Oswestry’, takes place on February 22 at Oswestry Memorial Hall followed by an exhibition in the afternoon. Campaign group, HOOOH (Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort) is organising the event to highlight the archaeological and historical significance of the hillfort under threat of proposed development close to it.

Speakers include Dr Rachel Pope, Director of Fieldwork and Senior Lecturer in European Prehistory at Liverpool University, who will be discussing how hillforts like Old Oswestry functioned in the Iron Age.

With Britain’s heritage facing new risks of encroaching development under the government’s latest planning guidance, Joanna Caruth of Rescue (The British Archaeological Trust) will explore the power of community and collaboration in protecting our historic environment.

Dr George Nash, an archaeologist and specialist in prehistoric rock art, will reveal the story of the Pegasus Stone, one of the most recent artefacts uncovered within the surrounds of Old Oswestry. Bearing the carved image of a horse, it is thought to be the handiwork of the hillfort’s earlier Iron Age inhabitants and is unlike any other engraved art found in southern Britain of this period.

Tim Malim, an expert on the historic environment and the linear earthworks of the Marches, will examine national legislation and international conventions designed to protect cultural significance inherent in the setting of ancient monuments. He will also discuss how the setting for Old Oswestry is intrinsic to its understanding and importance.

Shropshire Council’s SAMDev plan includes proposals for three housing clusters called the Oldport Masterplan which would skirt close to the 3,000 year old hillfort. The development has come under criticism from the heritage community while over 8,000 people have signed a petition against it.

John Waine of HOOOH said: “There has been a surge of registrations for this seminar reflecting the deep respect for and interest in Old Oswestry in the community. The programme of speakers also shows, once again, the high regard in which Old Oswestry is held by the academic community. We are all looking forward to a fascinating seminar.”

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