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.
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 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…
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!