Monthly Archives: August 2011

Tidgrove Warren Farm Fieldwork – 31st August 2011

A cracking day on site today, with plenty of different activities for all concerned. The morning started overcast and cool – positively autumnal, but the sun was out by lunchtime. Groups of students were joined with volunteers Mike, Les and Rowena. We had two teams in the morning deturfing on trenches 10 and 11, with a further group taken by Rachel for elementary magnetometer survey. A further team set out to topo the landscape of Tidgrove Warren Farm.

Edwin and Thomas surveying the topography over the Romano-British site using Smartnet

In the morning we sorted out the marquee and office, with students rotas, context sheets and other paperwork, and checked over the cameras and other equipment. The students continued and completed the deturfing of the trenches, and one group of students started a tutorial and practical in geophysical survey, using the fluxgate gradiometer.

Tea break was uneventful, apart from a lack of biscuits, and a horrendous incident involving one of the students and an entire bag of sugar. The remainder of the morning passed uneventfully.
For the afternoon worked picked up pace, with Raleigh Place, the landowner at Tidgrove, arriving with a small excavator.

Cleaning back in trench 11 with an excavator

While the students detrufed the remainder of trench 10, Raleigh, supervised by Dominic and Raleigh’s son Cameron stripped back the ploughsoil from trench 11. Two of the undergraduates also started a microtopographic survey in the same field to map the remains of Iron Age and Roman field systems and terraces in the area. One group of students conducted magnetometry survey of a 60m by 90m area to the north of trench 10 in order to locate a possible sub-rectangular platform, prior to locating a third trench over its extent.

The cleaning back of trench 11 resulted in locating the Iron Age/Roman boundary ditch, and the remains of terrace deposits upslope from the ditch feature.

Ditch feature in the centre of trench 11, with the remains of terrace deposits upslope from the sitch. The digger was used to put a slot through the deposits to ensure that they did not derive from deep colluviation, but the natural chalk showed up at a depth of 15-20cm

So with a third of the Romano-British site field surveyed with Smartnet, the magnetometry well under way and two trenches opened and features appearing, all is set for a third day of work tomorrow. The topographic aurvey and magnetometry results will be downloaded tomorrow morning early on before departing for site. I will hopefully put some images

Dominic Barker

of the results up on here tomorrow.

Raleigh Place


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Tidgrove Warren Farm Fieldwork – 30th August 2011

The first day on site with the team of students from the University of Southampton. We arrived on site after 10am having picked up lunch stuff on the way from Southampton. Much of the morning was spent on dealing with organisation and logistics, in particular setting up the Kingsclere Village Club marquee on site and organising the toolstore. Risk assessments were passed around and a site talk and list of dos and don’ts read out. A good bunch of students this year, all seeming keen and working hard from the outset.

The team deturfing on trench 10 to the east of the entrance track to the farm

In the afternoon we set out two trenches (labelled following on from previous years as trenches 10 and 11) one either side of the entrance track to the farm, covering the line of a boundary ditch of possible Iron Age date. We plan to conduct magnetometry over the area prior to locating any other trenches or test pits.

Rachel and Connor carried a fridge down from the farm to our store, courtesy of the landowner Raleigh Place, for storing all of our foodstuffs over the course of the season. Linda and one of the groups set up the finds processing area.

The students resting after an afternoon deturfing

The day ended with a quick visit to the medieval hunting lodge to the north east to look at the remains of the aisled hall, and plan some potential cleaning there. Tomorrow the plan is to complete the deturfing and start cleaning back in trenches 10 and 11, and to start some magnetometry and topographic survey over the landscape.


The good news for foragers is that there seems to be a bumper crop of elderberries, hawthorn berries, sloes and damsons around the site. Hopefully a chance for some of the team to get some home-made preserves on the go!

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Tidgrove Warren Farm Fieldwork 29th August 2011

Today was spent preparing for the excavations and survey at Tidgrove Warren Farm, due to start tomorrow morning. I spent most of the morning with Dominic Barker at the University and site, loading up tools and equipment, then depositing all in the store and checking over the equipment to make sure that all is ready.

This afternoon was spent setting out more of the geophysical survey grid and the location of three trenches over the landscape. All are located to get the most out of the Ieon Age and Romano-British field systems and settlement, the plan being to investigate features associated with these, in particular a set of four enclosure ditches that cut off the end of a ridge which has a settlement located on it.

Dominic Barker and Rachel Sharland using the Smartnet GPS to grid out and prepare the trenches at the site

We used the Smartnet GPS to establish the geophysical survey grid and trench locations in the Ordnance Survey grid coordinate system. The third trench is situated on the edge of the ridge which runs from the Portway Roman Road to the north, down to the southern confines of Tidgrove Warren Farm.

Location of trench 3 over the boundary ditches. The ridge pictured has an Iron Age and Romano-British Settlement located on it, and the mast in the distance, to the north of the Portway Roman road, marks Cottington’s Hill, the site of a possible Iron Age hillfort and medieval site associated with the deer park of Freemantle

With the grids and trenches set out, the plan tomorrow is to head out to site with undergraduate students from the University of Southampton for the training fieldwork. The team will be divided into group for a number of activities, including deturfing and cleaning back of the trenches, magnetometer survey, topographic survey using Smartnet, and some finds processing. Hopedully we will also get a small group to look at some features at the Medieval site at Tidgrove too.

Fieldwork 2011 Supervisors

Dominic Barker

Rachel Sharland

Two of the supervisory team were out today, Dominic Barker and Rachel Sharland grafting in preparation of the field season. We will be joined by Linda Mitchell tomorrow, and Southampton alumnus Paul Johnson early next week. More to follow tomorrow!

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Tidgrove Warren Farm Fieldwork 2011 Blog

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Wanderer’s Return

Just got back from continuation of the GPR survey of Late Period and Roman Necropolis at Quesna. A hectare of survey data to be processed prior to excavation, more links and information to follow in the next few days.

The excavation and survey for the Kingsclere Parish Archaeological Project (KPAP) is due to kick off next Tuesday. The work will include geophysical survey of the site and landscape surrounding a Romano-British settlement, including a multi-vallate enclosure feature and rectilinear platform visible in 1940s air photographic images. Students and staff at the University of Southampton will be involved, and volunteers from the Kingsclere Heritage Association. The plan is to set up a blog here for the duration of the excavation, to post up daily updates and photos from the dig. Watch this space for more details.

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GPR and ERT georeferencing and preliminary image

So, another day on the GPR and ERT data for Portus. Most of the morning spent checking the coordinates for the three local grid systems we are using for the data at Portus, and checking preliminary images of the GPR in a few locations. The aim here is to establish a new GIS for the geophyscial survey data to allow full integration of all of the datasets. Some interesting features in the results so far, working with data processed by Jessica Ogden at L-P Archaeology @jessogden and ncorporating earlier survey and excavation plans of the Soprintendenza. For more information see

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Another day of data processing

So today is another day of data processing for the Portus and Isola Sacra surveys. This morning covering the main stretch of magnetometry data from the central part of the Isola, processing in Geoplot, and checking through the data grid by grid as a quality control check. All okay so far, with some issues of heading error caused by the enclosure fences around some of the smaller particelli. Interesting features of the dy include more canal-type anomalies sub-dividing the landscape. Really hope that will be possible to carry out some augering across some of the archaeological and fluvial features at some stage. This would fit in well with the sample analysis of magnetic susceptibility from Jean-Philippe Goiran and Ferreol Salamon’s soil samples.

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