Last week we undertook our second gradiometer survey using the gradiometer loaned out by Bournemouth University as part of the LoCATE project. The survey site was a second ploughed out mound about 200m north of the site of our first survey. The first survey had indicated rather conclusively the site of a long barrow; a second long barrow in close proximity would be a significant and unusual find.
This survey was much more difficult than our first. We had just calibrated the meter when thunder rumbled and there was a heavy downpour. We also had to contend with a barbed wire fence cutting the site in half, as well as partial grid squares caused by field boundaries, hedges and thick vegetation. We had to work quickly given the looming black clouds.
Given these difficulties, we are very happy with the initial results, as shown below (plot dimensions are 60m x 40m, north to top):
We were only able to survey the eastern part of the mound. It is possible to discern a clear, regular anomaly which curves around to the east and then travels in straight lines westwards at the top and bottom. These lines appear to be starting to converge, suggesting a tapering anomaly which reflects the general shape of the mound. The strong black and white horizontal disturbance across the middle of the plot represents the barbed wire fence, and there is a very strong white anomaly in the top part of the plot which we are currently puzzled by. The red parts of the plot represent areas we did not survey. The wide dark anomaly above the curving anomaly could represent the terminal of a wide ditch; we will need to extend the survey area to the north to investigate this further.
In conclusion, these results are less conclusive than those for our first survey. However, the regular nature of the anomalies suggest that we are dealing with a man made rather than natural mound, and the general pattern is certainly conducive to an interpretation of a second long barrow. How exciting if we can prove this! We now plan to extend the survey area where possible to investigate further this theory. We will also consult with the resident experts at Bournemouth University for their opinion on the results.
Thanks to :
- everyone who helped with the survey
- Bournemouth University for loaning out their equipment
- the New Forest National Park Authority for coordinating the loan of the equipment