Tidgrove Warren Farm Fieldwork 28th September 2011 – Season Round-Up

The team finally finished up on site and were back in Southampton at 7.30pm on Saturday putting all of the equipment back. Some more recording of the medieval site is needed – mainly photographs – with Dom and Rachel heading up for a few hours this week to complete it. However all in all it was quite a successful season, even with the awful weather that we experienced at the outset.

The Geophysical Surveys

The geophysics was conducted very much as a training exercise with the students. The results did indicate a number of promising features. The magnetometry over the Romano-British field revealed some of the features surveyed and excavated previously, but also a number of field boundaries and associated features.

Rough unprocessed plot of the magnetometry from the Romano-British field

The magnetometry picked up on a number of parallel field ditches running along the contours of the field, with the cross-ridge ditches running from west to east. Ditches and structures of the rural settlement are visible at the top of the plot. Parallel features were also visible along the bottom of the valley.

Across the other side of the valley the magnetometry located a sub-circular and linear series of ditches with a maculaic feature at the head of the ditch.

Rough plot of the magnetometry from the east field. Trench 12 was located over the ‘splodge’ on the line of the ditch

A small area of resistivity was also conducted to the south of the medieval hunting lodge. A number of subtle earthworks were visible along the valley this year, and the resistivity results presented a number of interesting features.

Rough plot of the resistivity results from near the medieval site

The linear feature in the north west section of the results marks a modern water pipe. However a number of possible pits, walls and terrace features are visible, particularly to the east of the line of the stream. This may be something to focus on in future.

The Trenches

A reported previously on the blog, trench 10 did not reveal any useful archaeological features beyond the ploughmarks and peri-glacial material found in the base of the trench.

Trench 11 revealed a lovely section of the most upslope of the cross-ridge ditches cutting off the end of the Romano-British field. Upslope from the ditch there was a terrace soil with a sherd of early Roman pottery resting on the chalk below, giving a Roman date to the terrace. A small bank was present in the section, and this seems to relate to a small recut into the cross-ridge ditch, creating slump and the bank on the edge of the ditch.

The team planning the ditch in trench 11,with the recut just visible in the section

No material was found with which to date the ditch. However with the sequence associated with the terrace, and the amount of burnt and worked flint in the lower fills of the ditch, it is feasible that the ditch marks an earlier field system, possibly mid-Iron Age or earlier in date, with a Roman system of terraces superimposed at a later date.

Trench 12 finally revealed some interesting relationships in the last few days of the excavation. The lower cut, and some fill, of the curving ditch were located, and the upper fills of the features in the trench associated with the ‘splodge’ in the geophysics seem to be related to quarrying which post-dates the ditch enclosure.

Trench 12. The ditch runs on the nearside of the trench, and the quarrying cuts it in the background

Middle Iron Age pottery was recovered from the primary ditch fill, with mid-Iron Age to Roman ceramics coming from the infilled quarrying. The latter are not abraded which suggests that they are not redeposited, and this may all suggest that we have features associated with Middle Iron Age field systems across the landscape.

In the medieval trench some exciting discoveries were made. The entrance to the site was uncovered, with a good section through the ditch, indicating a primary fill of washed chalk dust, then a clay matrix with alternating layers of chalk tipping from within and outside of the enclosure.

The excavated ditch section from the medieval site

The interior of the entrance presented possible flint cobbling – although it would seem strange to use such stone to cobble an area used by horses – and wheel ruts running up from the entrance.

The medieval site entrance

The upper section of the site with the buttress on the aisled hall is however leading to some problems. The cut of the features appear to be filled with sterile chalk, and the team are still trying to figure out whether this is fill or chalk that has been waterlogged.

For the last day on the site the team had a barbeque, with Raleigh, Caroline and Cameron. Sausages, burgers and potatoes in the dutch oven all round!

Robin the fireman checking the lunch

The marquee, tables and everything came down on Saturday, and all of the tools were shipped back in the afternoon and evening. Apologies to all for the late finish, but hopefully you all had a good time and managed to learn a few things on the way!

Many thanks to all of the undergraduate students and the Certificate students from the University of Southampton, and to the KHA volunteers, including Les, Rowena, Peter, Mike, Simon, Robin and Robert. Thanks also to Raleigh Place and Caroline and Cameron for permission to work again at the site. Finally a huge thanks to the supervisors, Linda, Paul, Dom and Rachel who really slaved away this season.

I will put up more on the results, finds and other images in the coming weeks and months. If any of you who worked here in September 2011 would like to comment, or attach links with you own photographs to this site, then please feel free to do so.

Raleigh, Jess and Dom


1 Comment

Filed under Kingsclere Parish Archaeological Project, Uncategorized

One response to “Tidgrove Warren Farm Fieldwork 28th September 2011 – Season Round-Up

  1. Rachel Sharland

    Another successful season even if it has raised more questions than answers. The two sets of geophysical survey have highlghted new features and the resistivity plots look particularly interesting. For those of you who didn’t get to do any geophs the north on the res plots is at the ‘bottom’ of the picture……
    As for all the digging there is still much discussion and head scratching about what constitutes natural chalk and what is redeposited…or is it a soakaway……….and alien landing pad……?! The current theory for the buttress feature on the north west corner of the aisled hall is that it could have been used as a soakaway and that the additional water is responsible for turning the chalk into a fine silty deposit.
    The great movable post-pit has once again disappeared from the clayt with flint, as is the habit of features on this site at the end of summer….one day it may be found……!
    Finally the entranceway has gone from looking like the most straightforward part of the site to the most interesting. The probablity of flints having been used as cobbles and then covered over to provide a firm and safe surface for access to the site is very interesting. The ditch looks as though it didn’t have any features cut into the natural chalk for a bridge, but the weathering of the chalk and rabbit action may have removed what could once have been very ephemeral features.

    Thankyou to everyone who worked with me on the geophysics and in trenches 6 and 9, you have all been a pleasure to work with and I hope that you learnt as much from me as I did from all of you.

    Best wishes to you all and good luck with you archaeological careers.

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