Tag Archives: Braughing

Another day, another town

You would think I would have had enough. But no… hot on the heels of the end of the Gorhambury season, we headed off to the mysterious east side of the county. The Greenwich meridian seems to exert a powerful influence in Hertfordshire with its citizens seemingly afraid to cross the invisible line.

Back at the start of the project, we planned to do some survey in and around Braughing.  We managed just one site. The area is extremely important with multiple late Iron Age and Roman sites including the Roman “small town” on Wickham Hill.  We had an opportunity to work on the small town along with members of the Braughing Archaeological Group for a couple of days, mainly to see if magnetometry would show something useful.  The field was, however, rather rough and caused the odometer on the cart to over-run by about a meter, and the nuts and bolts needed constant tightening. On the second day I adjusted the odometer settings which improved matters a bit.

The survey underway on Wickham Hi

The survey underway on Wickham Hill.

We managed to complete 13 grid squares which was pretty good going, especially as the data logger crashed three lines before the end of the fourteenth square and we lost the rest of the grid.  The results, after a bit of work in TerraSurveyor, were very interesting.

The survey results.

The survey results.

The broad line running east-west towards the south of the surveyed area is the road.  It can be seen in the Google Earth image in the background.  Towards the west, the very dark band must be where the road becomes a sunken way as it goes up the slope.  What is very obvious is the difference to the planned public town at Verulamium.  This site was clearly a very different type of settlement.  What we have clearly shown is that it is worth expanding the magnetometry survey to cover as much of the settlement as possible.  Hopefully, the field surface will be a little more benign when we return!  One thing won’t change, however, and that is the slope…

On top of the hill.

On top of the hill.

Many thanks to Jim West for coming all the way from Chorley Wood to run the mag on the first day while I lay-in the grid, and also many thanks to all the members of BAG who joined in. Looks like we’ll be back!

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Half way mark

As July draws to a close we have reached the half-way mark of the project.  We have bought the machine and run the course.  Even if we never surveyed another block in the Park, we have added significantly to what we know about Verulamium.  I now know more about the site at Six Acres and am looking forward to finishing the survey when the crop comes off.  The first site of several near Braughing has been completed.  Plans for surveying at Ashwell are advancing well, and we have agreement in principal for Wheathampstead.  Although the next couple of months are going to be extremely busy, I think we can be pleased with what what have achieved so far.

All this makes me think of the future.  What happens after the project has ended?  We are developing into a good group, and it would be a shame to lose that, even if people can still borrow the machine.  How can we collaborate?  Can we sustain the momentum we have built up?  Obviously there are many projects we could pursue: the rest of Verulamium, the landscape around Wheathampstead, the plethora of sites near Braughing, to name but three.  Having thought about this a fair bit lately, I wonder if a new group would be the best way to go? How about the Community Archaeology Geophysics Group or CAGG for short?  We could keep using this website, and we already having a mailing list.  Should we be just a virtual group, or should be have a formal membership? We can collaborate on surveys, or design and implement larger survey projects, we could share expertise and equipment, and perhaps meet now and again for mini-conferences looking at results etc.

Is this a good idea?  Is anyone prepared to run it at first? Would you all join? Let me know what you think.