Tag Archives: Archaeology

Old Sarum Update

For the last few weeks a fair amount of preparation has been undertaken by various members of staff at the University of Southampton for a press release on the fieldwork conducted at Old Sarum (see previous blog post https://kdstrutt.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/in-the-castle-called-seresberi-old-sarum-and-a-new-survey-of-the-inner-and-outer-baileys/). Peter Franklin and colleagues at the press office have worked hard to produce the finished story, and today things finally came together with a bit of a whirlwind of media attention. The finds of the project to date illustrate the potential of non-intrusive archaeological methodologies to elucidate on the archaeology of a particular site or landscape, without harming the material culture and with some strong underlying scientific concepts on which to base  some degree of interpretation and narrative.

Greyscale image of the magnetometry from the south of the outer bailey (top) and the interpretation plot for the data overlaid on LiDAR for the area (© LiDAR data Environment Agency copyright and/or database right 2014. All rights reserved.)

Greyscale image of the magnetometry from the south of the outer bailey (top) and the interpretation plot for the data overlaid on LiDAR for the area (© LiDAR data Environment Agency copyright and/or database right 2014. All rights reserved.)

The step from geophysical survey data to coherent archaeological narrative is a big one, and one of the reasons that our interpretations to date err on the side of caution. What is apparent from the results is the urban plan of a substantial medieval city, and an array of different forms of structure and associated features in the outer bailey at Old Sarum. Hopefully the results and their wider dissemination at this stage will help to generate interest in the site, the methodology used, and the wider applications of these approaches to archaeological research.

To date the results have been reported in a number of sources. Online the sources include:

BBC News   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-30300837

The Independent   http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/archaeologists-find-vast-medieval-palace-buried-under-prehistoric-fortress-at-old-sarum-9898759.html

The Telegraph   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/archaeology/11269753/Medieval-city-uncovered-by-archaeologists-and-not-a-spade-in-sight.html

More will hopefully follow tomorrow. Above all else the results show the pertinence of student involvement in research-led teaching, from developing an understanding of the archaeological and scientific theory for the work, to dealing with practical aspects of survey and undertaking fieldwork, to being involved in the processing and interpretation of data. The results at Old Sarum are testament to the peerless hard work and dedication of the students on the project, as well as the staff involved in their supervision.


For images or for interviews with Kris Strutt, please contact Peter Franklin, Media Relations, University of Southampton. Tel: 023 8059 5457 email: franklin@southampton.ac.uk

For more information about the Archaeological Prospection Service of Southampton (APSS) visit:http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archaeology/research/groups/archaeological_prospection_service_southampton.page


For more about the Old Sarum and Stratford-Sub-Castle Archaeological Survey Project visit: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archaeology/research/projects/old_sarum_and_stratford_sub_castle.page


For more information about Archaeology at Southampton visit: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archaeology/index.page

For more information about English Heritage visit: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/

Through world-leading research and enterprise activities, the University of Southampton connects with businesses to create real-world solutions to global issues. Through its educational offering, it works with partners around the world to offer relevant, flexible education, which trains students for jobs not even thought of. This connectivity is what sets Southampton apart from the rest; we make connections and change the world. http://www.southampton.ac.uk/




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Basing House Survey, Day Four – Spring finally arrives!

We have had some really productive days on the second phase of survey at Basing House, with third year and postgraduate students from the University of Southamotin working hard, and carrying out resistance survey, magnetometry, GPR and magnetic susceptibility of the Old and New houses, and Civil War defences and the outer bailey. Spring also finally arrived today after single-figure temperatures and damp weather. Altogether today marked the best day of surveying yet.

Survye in the area of the outer bailey

Survey in the area of the outer bailey

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Basing House Spring Survey – Week 2 Day One

After a few weeks out of the field, the staff and students from the University of Southampton arrived back at Basing House to start the geophysical survey component of the fieldwork. A mix of third year students from Archaeology and Oceanography, Erasmus students and postgraduates headed out to the site. Chris Elmer again gave the group a tour of the site, while supervisors commenced gridding out the site using Smartnet GPS. The group were then divided into teams to carry out magnetometry, resistance survey, GPR and magnetic susceptibility.

Team gridding out the site with the GPS

Team gridding out the site with the GPS

Magnetometry commenced in the area to the west and south of the ringwork and Old House, covering parts of the Civil War defences. Two Bartington Instruments gradiometers were used. The resistivity teams started work in the area of the Outer Bailey, surveying at 0.5m by 0.5m resolution. Continue reading


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Antinoupolis Survey Magnetometry Commences

Trying to catch up with blog posts this week, on a slow internet connection and pushing the magnetometer survey forwards. Work is moving ahead with the survey of the necropolis of Antinoupolis. The area was gridded out last Saturday, with 10 hectares prepared, and the magnetometry has been moving forwards. The area in question is located between the north-western corner of the city, the Coptic cemetery to the west and the confines of the wadi to the north.

Magnetometry being oconducted across the Roman and Late Roman cemetery

Magnetometry being conducted across the Roman and Late Roman cemetery

Areas of the cemetery were excavated by Gayet in the early part of the 20th century, and in these zones the terrain is difficult to walk, running between spoilheaps and the depressions left by the excavated tombs. Parts of mummified bodies and ceramics litter the ground.  Continue reading

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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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