A day-by-day account of the activities of the Rossnaree Archaeological Project 2010-11

Preparation for the 2011 excavation


Igor gets lost in the poppies.

The plan for the excavation this year means that we will be going into an area normally under tillage. We had avoided this last year and kept to the surrounding pasture on the slope to the north of the core of the site and also in the floodplain to the east. However, as the core of the site was firmly within the area of tillage and because of the exciting results of the second phase of geophysical survey carried out in 2010 after last year’s dig, it was clear that we should look at at least part of the core area. We spoke to the farmer of the land and explained what we wanted to do, and he very kindly allowed us permission to go in on his crop in the corner of the field.

More new kit.

Kevin at the total station.

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The first task facing us was to locate the corner points of the two target areas which had already been defined on the basis of the detailed geophysics. So, using a total station and referring to the control points that had been established on the site, this was done. The one unusual thing about this particular step was that it was carried out in a field with a chest-high crop of oil seed rape with an amazing number of poppies growing through it. Once these eight points had been established, I followed and used a strimmer to cut the crop out of the way. Once that was done, the cut crops had to be raked up and piled up outside each area.

Igor conducts the magnetic gradiometry survey.

With the two areas clear, the next step we chose to take was to carry out some very high detail geophysics in order to have as clear a picture as possible of the features below the ground before we start to excavate them. This would also allow us to position the trenches as accurately as possible relative to the subsurface archaeological features we are most interested in excavating. High detail magentic gradiometry, detailed earth resistance, magnetic susceptibility on a 1m x 1m grid, and an electrical resistance tomography (ERT) section were all carried out.

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While all of that was going on, the equipment for the excavation was being organised and the cabin which will act as excavation HQ for the next month was also delivered. Everything is beginning to fall into place at last.

The magnetic susceptibility survey.

The earth resistance survey.

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Kevin carries out the ERT survey.

The cabin is delivered. Luxury!

Kevin outlines the latest breakthroughs in ground penetrating radar technology to some interested onlookers.

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