All posts by Martin Fowkes

LOCAL HERITAGE NETWORK

In June 2015 I attended a training session run by the CBA (Council for British Archaeology) for their Local Heritage Engagement Network (LHEN). The LHEN is a CBA project to support groups like ours by providing resources and advice as well as an opportunity for local groups to share knowledge and learn from each other.

The workshop was about advocacy and activism and the purpose of the event was to help local communities involved in protecting archaeology. This mainly relates to local authorities and planning decisions and the impact of the ongoing cuts to council services.

Some councils are cutting their archaeology posts and there is a danger that planning applications do not get assessed for archaeological impact as well as they should do – West Sussex being an example where this is already happening.

The director of the CBA – Mike Heyworth – took part, and there were several delegates from other archaeological societies, a BBC radio producer and a British Museum researcher present.

There was a presentation by the Archaeology Officer of Southwark Council, which highlighted all the important work that council archaeology services provide.

The Horsham Archaeology Group explained how they were fighting to protect archaeological sites in their district after their county archaeological service had been axed. And representatives of the ‘Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort’ campaign, told us about their struggles against the plans to build houses close to this important monument.

There was a lot of useful advice, but if Bucks CC are providing a decent service and planning applications are properly assessed we may not need this advice right now. However, we need to remain alert to potential changes, as if we hear that Bucks CC may be cutting their archaeological service then we could use this guidance to try and prevent damage being done.

AIM supports the work of LHEN and will follow its development. You can find out more on the LHEN website which includes a growing toolkit of information and guidance.

 

WARREN WOOD INVESTIGATIONS – JULY 2015

We have continued our excavations with five visits between 24th May and 19th July. The main focus has been on test pits 10 and 11 (T10 and T11) which are proving to be quite different. T11 has yielded quite a lot of broken roof tile but only a moderate amount of large flint pieces. T10 contains an almost continuous layer of flint rubble which we are excavating as a separate context, and it has been drawn and photographed. This rubble is probably the remains of a wall footing but we have not been able to determine the position or orientation of the wall. A concentrated patch of broken tile in one corner of T10 turned out to be nothing significant. The flint nodules from the rubble layer are being kept separately from those previously excavated from contexts 1 and 2 of Trench 10, which have been weighed and the results recorded. We have also continued to weigh the tile extracted from both test pits, and have found a few small sherds of pottery, including a nice rim piece. IMG_2318 Here’s all the flint excavated from T10 so far – 75kg and counting! IMG_2332 Using our Total Station, we have now taken measurements for seven of the ten profiles planned across the inner enclosure bank and ditch. We have also marked out the location of a new trench (T12) across the bank of the inner enclosure and hope to start excavation in the coming months.

On 28th June John Laker and I visited Coleman’s Wood near Homer Green, just outside High Wycombe. This is similar to Warren Wood in that the woodland contains an earthwork enclosure of Medieval date. It is being excavated by Stuart King and it shows that very similar looking sites may have different interpretations. It has a similar bank and ditch enclosure of medieval date, with a lot of flint, some medieval pottery, and many finds very near the surface. However there is no evidence of any structures, and there is a lot of iron objects and slag, suggesting this may have been an iron working area. An even bigger difference is the large Iron Age/Romano-British enclosure at Coleman’s Wood which is Stuart’s main interest.

Coleman's Wood visit JL pic