The pattern of expanding population and the clearance of woodland for agriculture continued into the Iron Age. Excavations at Stansted Airport revealed a Late Iron Age village of round houses, enclosed by a bank and ditch and centred on a rectangular building interpreted as a shrine.
Strongholds or hillforts were built on ridges of locally high ground. There is a string of these structures along the Lee, Stort and Cam valleys. However, some of the best excavated examples are two forts in east Essex, namely Asheldham Camp and Shoebury Camp. At these coastal sites the ramparts were built in the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age and there was a major phase of occupation in the Middle Iron Age.
The Late Iron Age is marked by the rule of Cunobelin over the tribes of South East Britain from his base at Camulodunum (Colchester). The possible site of his fortified homestead lay at Gosbecks at the head of a vast inland promontory fort bounded by the Colne and Roman rivers. Across the neck of this promontory lay a series of dykes, totalling 19-24km in length, for defence against chariots. Behind the dykes was a network of small fields and droveways and a large enclosed farmstead with a spring-fed pond and brook to the north of it.