Here you can read about our fieldwork progress and some choice finds beginning with our first Explore and Evaluate phase of work in August and September 2018. This initial stage builds on what we already know, or suspect, from satellite and LiDAR imagery over several years. We’re grateful to the ECVBL group who have provided £9,000 for these activities, conducted by the core project team members and expert service-providers in order to scope the potential for further funding, and therefore community-inclusive activities into 2019-20. As always, we are also tied into the rhythms of the intensive agricultural calendar, with many thanks to Julian, the resident farmer who works around the clock, but also accommodates our ventures with enthusiasm and flexibility.
Geophysical Survey | August 2018
We have completed a geophysical survey of around 30 hectares across four of the fields which appear to show archaeological crop and soil marks. The survey, undertaken by Archaeological Services Durham University, deployed a quad bike with a trailor upon which antennae detect changes in the magnetic characteristics of the soil. High magnetic anomalies often indicate areas of past human activities where thermal events such as furnaces, kilns, hearths and burning have altered the sediment’s magnetism. The results are due shortly.
Field-walking Survey | August-September 2018
In addition to the geophysical survey, the core team members have conducted and walk-over assessment survey and field-walking as the fields were rapidly ploughed for winter crops. While there was little time for weathering, the sandy nature of the ploughsoil in many areas together with some good, heavy overnight rain, allowed us to cover between 50% and 100% of most field surfaces, in lines either 2m or 4m apart. All finds have been 3D plotted using a GPS device so that we can look at spatial patterns – also in relation to survey results and aerial images.
The field-walking has recovered a significant number of finds, mostly of stone and flint, covering most prehistoric periods from the Mesolithic to Bronze Age and possibly later. You can learn more about all the periods from the Ice Age to modern times in the timelines chart.
The finds are being cleaned, analysed, catalogued and photographed. You can check on our progress in regular news posts.
The find here is a flint ‘rod’ of uncertain use, but possibly a multi-purpose tool that would have been hafted with a bone, antler, horn or wooden handle. It dates to the Early Neolithic period (first farmers), between 3800 and 3500 BC. We also have a leaf-shaped arrowhead from the same period, a damaged Bronze Age barbed and tanged arrowhead and some flint scrapers used for scraping animal hides, fish scales, wood, bone or vegetable materials. Some artefacts, like a tiny ‘thumbnail’ scraper, have been burnt in the distant past and may relate to Bronze Age burial activities, also reflected by at last two burial mounds dating to the 2nd or 3rd millennia BC.