Iron Age - Storage Pits

Vast numbers of pits are found on iron age sites, where ever the ground is suitable to be dug into.
In particular the rolling chalk hills of the southern counties, from Kent to Dorset, and the Wolds of East Yorkshire.
The hillforts in particular, contain thousands of pits, dug for many reasons.
Some of those are:- grain stores, larder pits, burials, cremations, and rubish pits.

Larder Pit

Over 2m deep, and roofed these pits are used as a cold store for maturing meat in. When a large animal, like a cow, is killed, it is a large amount of meat to proccess, so some can be stored until butchered. Hanging meat also tenderizes it, so meat can be hung for up to a month.

Larder pits have sloped or stepped access. This one has steps cut into the chalk. Sloped access could be down a log with notches cut into it.

Grain Pit

Grain can be stored in the ground over winter. When sealed with clay, to keep the light and air out, the grain hibernates. It cannot be recomended for human consumption, but is ok for animal feed, and seed grain.

This is a grain pit with it's cap of clay. This has to be maintained, or the grain will spoil.
This pit has a basketwork lid to stop people falling in.
The conditions when digging a pit can be a little cramped.