A SECOND excavation of Nesscliffe Hill between Oswestry and Shrewsbury – originally planned to take place this summer – has been rearranged for 2021 because of Covid-19 related safety concerns.

Following last year’s successful archaeological excavations at Nesscliffe Hill Camp, it was intended to continue this August and to include local volunteers.

Unfortunately, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the excavations have been cancelled but plans are already in place to continue in 2021.

Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council Cabinet member for culture, leisure, waste and communications, said the decision was taken to ensure everyone's health and safety.

She said: “We were blessed in 2019 with a number of archaeological digs at historic Shropshire sites, including Nesscliffe Hill, and we were looking forward to a second season this year.

“Some significant discoveries were made at Nesscliffe Hill in 2019 furthering our understanding of the area.

"As ever with human curiosity, we’re eager to learn more and had hoped to press ahead with another dig this summer.

“Everyone’s safety is our top priority so we have had to cancel this year's dig and rearrange for 2021, when hopefully it’ll be safe to go ahead.”

Nesscliffe is an impressive Iron Age hillfort, but also with later Roman occupation.

In 2019 details of the earth and stone rampart surrounding the site were explored together with a monumental stone entrance with guard chambers.

The entrance will be further explored in 2021 together with the opening of new trenches in the hillfort’s interior where houses have been indicated by geophysical survey.

The work in 2021 will take place over a four-week period in the last two weeks of July and the first two of August.

During this time there will be an opportunity for volunteers to take part in the excavations – details will follow in 2021 before the work starts.

The dig in 2019, the first at Nesscliffe Hillfort for 50 years, produced a find of national significance with the discovery of guard chambers.

A council spokesman added: "The north eastern entrance to the hillfort, where part of this year’s dig took place, unearthed what are known as guard chambers. These would have stood at the end of an entrance passage at either side of the roadway into the interior.

"This is an exciting discovery for the archaeologists as few of these structures have been excavated nationally. The planned 2020 dig would have investigated these more closely."