News & Projects
After the heat and lack of rainfall last year, 2019 has so far had excellent growing conditions with moderate temperatures and just enough moisture. The tall growth makes for difficult surveying conditions with a number of jobs currently delayed. The cool Spring has also delayed the ripening of arable crops, at least compared to recent years, but harvest started locally at the beginning of July so the landscape is beginning to change and ground conditions will soon be optimum for survey.
Archaeological Surveys Ltd was commissioned by the Malmesbury History Society to undertake a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of accessible areas around the abbey and adjacent areas. Variable results were obtained but include anomalies relating to the northern cloister, the crossing, presbytery and transepts. Fragments of the abbey complex were also located by GPR surveying within Abbey House Gardens to the east and behind The Old Bell Hotel to the north west. The GPR survey also located fragments of St Paul's church to the south of the abbey. No significant features were identified within the churchyard to the south of the abbey, although the GPR profiles indicate the presence of a very large number of graves probably confirming the area had been used for burial by the town from the medieval up until the Victorian period. The GPR results within the abbey were poor probably as a result of the floor and shallow subsurface make-up; despite the presence of numerous memorial ledgers within the floor, there was very little evidence for graves below it, and although 19th and 20th century renovations may have removed them, it is possible that high levels of GPR absorption have restricted penetration.
Magnetometry carried out by Archaeological Surveys Ltd at Aldbourne, Wiltshire, has successfully located anomalies relating to Nissen huts used by Easy Company of the 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division of the US army preparing for D-Day. Subsequent excavation, as part of Operation Nightingale, revealed concrete pads forming the foundations of one of the huts along with finds dating to the use and occupation of the site.
Magnetic debris is located by virtually all magnetometry surveys and often dismissed as modern topsoil junk. However, we shouldn't be too hasty in considering this material insignificant, it represents something and perhaps could be the only archaeological evidence of a past event, activity, settlement, etc. This article considers sources of magnetic debris and what sort of archaeological information may be derived from it.
My day of work with Archaeological Surveys LTD carrying out a ground penetrating RADAR survey.
Magnetometry undertaken at Tysoe, Warwickshire in 2017 and 2018 has revealed further evidence for extensive Romano-British and prehistoric settlement. Several sites previously identified by fieldwalking in the 1990s, and geophysics in 2010/2011, were chosen for additional wide area magnetometry survey. The results indicate numerous enclosures, field systems and track ways surrounding core settlement areas. The complexity of many of the sites infers long periods of settlement, possibly from the Bronze Age to the end of the Roman period.