After the successes of the surveys and excavation at Basing House in 2014, a second season of work is being conducted by the Basing House CAT project (http://basinghouseproject.org/) directed by Nicole and Gareth Beale. Work on the excavation is ongoing, and can be seen on the project blog. In addition to this work, however, further geophysical survey is also being conducted on Basing Common.
Elliot surveying the possible location of the siege camp on Basing Common using a magnetometer, with Basing House within the trees in the background
A combination of geophysics and metal detecting is being used over the area to provide information on the location of the Parliamentarian siege camp established in the area during the siege of Basing House. Work started today with Dominic Barker, the author, and a team of students and volunteers. Dom and others involved in the survey will be posting blogs in the coming weeks. However, the survey started well with a grid being established in the southern part of the Common.
Dom Barker gridding out using a GPS
A small area of magnetometry was covered, however, the results seem to indicate the presence of possible anomalies relating to a possible camp, including a broad ditch feature, a possible bastion, and other more ephemeral ditches and pits. The ploughsoil also indicates ferrous material over the area possibly associated with artefacts from the seige. The plan is to use metal detecting to find artefacts across the survey area, with these being bagged up and located using the GPS, allowing their distribution to be compared with the geophysical survey results. Please check back for further developments over the duration of the field season.
Smashing blog from Nicole Beale on the completed survey at Basing House, and a bit of a low-down on the techniques used, represented by abbreviations and three letter acronyms in my blog over the last few weeks. Enjoy!
Basing House Project
The undergraduates have finished working at Basing House for this Spring, and we’ll be back on site in a few weeks to collect more data for some of our postgraduate students who are using the site for various projects.
This is the team from Week 2. I can’t believe how much ground these guys covered! Thanks all!
I thought it might be useful to give you a rundown on the different tools that we were using to record the site during the topographic, building and geophysical survey, as we keep saying things like ‘mag’ and ‘GPR’ without explaining what any of them are!
In our next post, we’ll begin to share the results of the surveys, so do check back regularly, or subscribe to the blog for updates, using the link on the navigation to the right.
There are a few pieces of kit that we use for…
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The second week of survey at Basing House finished on Friday in a spray of mud and rain, hailstones and inky cloud. What had promised to be a reasonable day quickly became unworkable, wet and cold. The teams set out for the final day of survey, focusing on completion of the magnetometry and resistivity in the area of the New House and outer bailey, and GPR over the outer bailey also. We abandoned the magnetic susceptibility to ensure that all hands were working on the res and mag. The rain set in and the GPR survey was the first to suffer, with the notebooks turning to mush.
Time for a weatherproof notebook!
The magnetometry continued, mopping up grids on the Civil War earthworks, and finishing the survey of the New House and outer bailey. Resistivity was completed in the Old House and the New House, although the team had suspicions that the wet weather would affect the results.
Kelly with the magnetometer
Rain? What rain?
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.
Survey in the area of the outer bailey
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
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
Today’s blog from Nicole for the survey at Basing House!
Basing House Project
Today was a cold but very productive day up at Basing House.
The student teams are getting faster at recording topography and have covered huge areas of the site.
Surveying in the limits of the New House has been tricky as there are partial walls to try to identify.
One of the student teams is made up of Masters students, two of whom are planning to use Basing House as the major case study for their dissertation projects. The Masters students were working on surveying the very complex interior of the Old House today. It was out of the wind, but still very cold!
I started a photographic suvey of the various grafitti on the site. The photos below show examples of the variety of graffiti in the Old House etched into the plaster. We’re planning to use some new computational photography techniques to record this in the summer.
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The third day of archaeological survey at Basing House is over, and the survey teams are really getting in to the swing of things. The two minibuses arrived at 9.20am, driving from sunny Southampton into mist and freezing temperatures around Basingstoke, ready for another exciting day at the site.
Tim Sly talks to the troops outside of the Bothie