Beacons of the Past News

Find the latest news from the Beacons of the Past project through these links. 

Download our latest edition of the Hillfortian Times, see what we've been up to and the major changes that are being made

Read more on Beacons of the Past - Spring 2021 e-Newsletter

Beacons of the Past - 2020 in Review

17 December 2020

LiDAR and Citizen Science reveals Iron Age hillfort hidden in Chiltern woods

12 August 2020

Beacons of the Past announce the discovery of a previously unknown Iron Age hillfort in the Chilterns, found using LiDAR survey and Citizen Science. 

Beacons of the Past - Spring 2020 e-Newsletter

17 April 2020

Download our latest edition of the Hillfortian Times and see what we've been up to, and how to get involved in exciting discoveries during lockdown.

Beacons of the Past - Autumn 2019 e-Newsletter

03 October 2019

Hear how team #Chilforts are getting on with our new edition of the Hillfortian Times. New volunteering opportunities and events; a focus on Wilbury Hill camp; find out how we got on in our excavation at Burnham Beeches

Burnham Beeches Excavation - Summary Report

01 October 2019

Only a week out of the ground, and we already have a summary report from Robin Bashford, our Fieldwork Project Officer. There will of course, be a much more detailed report after all the analyses are complete, but this will give an idea of what we did and what we found out in our first project Community Excavation! Download it here!

Desborough Castle Magnetometry

23 September 2019

Desborough Castle Magnetometry Report - have a read!

Beacons of the Past Launches Citizen Science LiDAR Portal

12 August 2019

·         The Beacons of the Past project team are calling for public participation to help identify potentially thousands of newly revealed archaeological features in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

·         With full training offered though a series of online tutorials, the Online Citizen Science Portal can be found here:

Beacons of the Past - Our Winter 2018/19 e-Newsletter

02 January 2019

Download our Winter 2018/19 Beacons of the Past newsletter, with information about new volunteering opportunities

The Iron Age was brought to life at the launch of our exciting Beacons of the Past project

24 September 2018

Beacons of the Past was officially launched on Saturday 15th September, with a fantastic celebration held at Desborough Castle Park, High Wycombe. The event started at 3.30pm and attracted over 100 participants including volunteers and local residents. Mayor Sarafaz Khan Raja and Councillor Mohammed Hanif were also amongst our visitors, hosted by CCB Chairman Ian Reay and Chief Officer Sue Holden. 


The Iron Age was brought to life with a variety of demonstrations that featured typical skills and methods familiar to Iron Age people. Kim Biddulph was our very own Beacons' Master Chef, presenting her cooking along with samples of bread, butter, cheese and more - all made with prehistoric techniques and ingredients, of course. Will Mills demonstrated flint tool making techniques, and David Willis taught prehistoric bushcraft using nettles and other plants to make string and rope.


Visitors witnessed the first prehistoric furnace at Desborough Castle since... well we may find out later in the project! But in the meantime, we were treated to a copper smelting demonstration by Dr Peter Hommel who also cast replica coin and brooch pieces in pewter - remarkable skills and techniques that definitely brought insight into Iron Age capability.

Steph Rodgers from Chiltern Rangers hosted a 'build-a-box' workshop which attracted lots of younger visitors to create an array of brightly decorated boxes; these will be positioned in and around Desborough Castle and Castlefield woods. There was also Iron Age 'Celtic' facepainting by Jen Quille and, as a result, a good many colourful young faces running around!


Alison Doggett, board member of CCB delivered a wonderful speech describing how the idea for Beacons of the Past first came about in early 2013, and remembering the tremendous effort and determination shown not least by Shirley Judges, previously a CCB board member herself who tragically died in 2014. Dr Wendy Morrison, our unstoppably enthusiastic archaeologist who heads up the Beacons project, welcomed local residents to their very own hillfort at Desborough Castle, and outlined the exciting opportunities ahead for volunteers and enthusiasts.

Following the speeches, two beacons were lit - one on Desborough Castle and the other on West Wycombe Hill. Once the sun had faded in the West, visitors were treated to the sight of the West Wycombe beacon from Desborough Castle.


An amazing launch but only the first of many Beacons events coming up. See you at the next one!

The final excavation report from our September 2019 dig near Seven Ways Plain, Burnham Beeches is complete! Read to see what we did, what we found, and what it all might mean! A second dig is planned (the autumn 2020 season has been rolled back to late Spring 2022) so do sign up to our mail list to be in the know!

Report 2019 - Burnham Beeches


Beacons of the Past - Summer 2019 e-Newsletter

Download our Summer 2019 Beacons of the Past newsletter, with information about new volunteering opportunities

Read more on Beacons of the Past - in our Summer Edition of The Hillfortian Times!


Beacons of the Past - Spring 2019 e-Newsletter

Download our Spring 2019 Beacons of the Past newsletter, with information about new volunteering opportunities

Read more on Beacons of the Past - Our Spring Edition!



Beacons of the Past - Our first e-Newsletter, Autumn 2018

Friday 28 September 2018
Click to download Autumn 2018 volume of The Hillfortian Times

Hillforts Newsletter Autumn 18


Launch: 15th September; Desborough Castle High Wycombe

Monday 24 September 2018

The Iron Age was brought to life at the launch of our exciting Beacons of the Past project. Read more by clicking here.


CCB awards Cyient Europe contract to produce one of the largest archaeological LiDAR surveys in the UK

Thursday 30 August 2018


Meet and Greets: 15th and 16th July 2018; Henley, Pitstone, Redbourn, High Wycombe

We met more than 120 of you at the four 'Meet & Greet' events July 14-15. Thanks for coming out and sharing your enthusiasm and skills with us! If you didn't get a chance to make one of the events, you can still get involved!

A pdf of the powerpoint we gave is available here.




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