News & Projects

GPR images of Aldbourne hut bases

March 2024


We recently attended the Wiltshire Archaeology Conference at Devizes, Kerry Donaldson presented the results of our surveying near Highworth where we located 11 previously unknown Highworth Circles forming a group of 20, approximately 60 circles have been discovered so far. They range from 50m - 100m in diameter and have an internal ditch with an external bank. They appear to be unique in the country, so far no parallels have been discovered, only limited excavation has been carried out but it seems likely that they date to the 13th or 14th centuries. Although their exact purpose is unknown, it would seem likely that they are related to holding animals and it's possible they were related to droving or sale of stock but we just don't know. Further info in Wiltshire Archaeology Conference (

Preliminary survey work was undertaken at Aldbourne in March ahead of excavations on the Band of Brothers site. Our initial magnetometry on the site several years ago produced surprisingly good results revealing the location of most of the former Nissen huts built and initially used by British forces but which later became a base for the American Band of Brothers or Easy Company. The western part of the magnetic survey was heavily disturbed by modern steel objects and this part of the site has become the focus of attention for this year's excavations so we decided to try ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey, the results of which are visible above (time slice representing around 0.5m depth). We now have much more precise information on the location of the huts which will assist in targeting the excavations. Further information at Magnetometry locates 'Band of Brothers' huts (

Finally, for anyone interested in early wireless sites, which are an ongoing research theme for us, we have a small number of signed copies of Larry Bennett's "Portishead Radio" for £10 +p&p and "The Marconi Beam Wireless Stations of Somerset" for £14 +p&p, contact us on See Devizes Wireless Station (     Wroughton Wireless Receiving Station (



Cheers, Dave Sabin

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Wiltshire Archaeology Conference
Archaeological Surveys Director Kerry Donaldson recently presented geophysical results from a survey along a Thames Water pipeline route that revealed a number of new Highworth Circles. Kerry discussed what is known about these unique and enigmatic features and how the new discoveries fit into the wider landscape. David Sabin manned a poster display at the conference which included images and articles on Devizes Wireless Station, Wroughton Wireless Receiving Station and work on the recently scheduled Roman settlement site at Chipping Norton, as well as a number of other large Roman sites around Swindon.
Posted on 27 March 2024
Wroughton Wireless Receiving Station
Wroughton Wireless Station was the receiving station for the first transatlantic wireless telephone service which began operation in 1927. The site was located at Rectory Farm which was demolished to make way for the construction of RAF Wroughton. The significant role of the station within the development of wireless communication is generally poorly known although it is briefly mentioned in archives relating to Rugby Radio Station, the transmitter for the telephone service, and images are present in the BT Archive.
Posted on 20 February 2024
Avebury, Marconi & the wireless station that never was
In 1923 the Marconi Company were interested in purchasing several thousand acres of land at Avebury for the construction of a wireless station. Concerns were raised regarding the impact on the archaeology of the area and Alexander Keiller famously purchased Windmill Hill to protect it from the construction of masts. The 1920s were are period of rapid technological development in wireless communication and it is unclear what the company intended to build at the site; references to 800 feet high masts may infer a long wave station that was actually constructed by the GPO at Rugby. However, at this time Marconi experimentation with short waves led to the development of the Marconi Beam Wireless system that had many advantages over long waves for long distance communication. Radio press releases at the time may infer that the company intended to construct a number of beam stations at Avebury, and possibly a sister station to Rugby Radio. Although there was opposition to Marconi's intentions at Avebury by the archaeological community, the Wiltshire Archaeological Society did not raise any objections; however, some members felt that the committee had been schmoozed by Marconi and disagreed. The wireless station was never built although this may have been as much to do with politics and technological factors along with the archaeological concerns.
Posted on 11 December 2023
Devizes Wireless Station 1913 - 1929
Devizes Wireless Station was a short-lived site but played a remarkable part in wireless development in the early 20th century from just pre-WWI to the late 1920s. Initially the first receiving station constructed by Marconi as part of the Imperial Wireless Chain, then used by the military in WWI for direction finding and intelligence (MI1e) and finally maritime communications in the post-war period with demolition in 1929.
Posted on 13 October 2023
Roman Iron Working, Seend, Wiltshire
Magnetic susceptibility measurement of iron ore samples from Seend.
Posted on 14 December 2022
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