Day 11 – Finds so far – by Mike

August 3rd 2013 – Basing House Dig – Day 11 INTRODUCTION Saturday 3rd August – another day of digging for the Basing House archaeologists. There are undeniable groans, yawns and sleepy protestations at a time which most students believe should be legally outlawed for work (let alone consciousness) of any kind. Nevertheless, work was soon […]

August 3rd 2013 – Basing House Dig – Day 11

INTRODUCTION

Basing House cannon

Saturday 3rd August – another day of digging for the Basing House archaeologists. There are undeniable groans, yawns and sleepy protestations at a time which most students believe should be legally outlawed for work (let alone consciousness) of any kind. Nevertheless, work was soon underway on the site, and the once shallow, grassy pits had swallowed most of the diggers to waist height by this point in the excavation.
On today’s agenda was the further trowelling of the chalky layer in an effort to secure the 1960 trench lines, alongside the first efforts at documenting the growing trench sections and stratigraphy. The trowelling itself is now at a stage where finds are becoming increasingly common-place (especially those of the Roman variety), and the monotonous job of shovelling out the soil fill from the original 1960’s excavation (complete with rusty Carling cans and pink lipstick) is over. This influx of finds led me to Jude, the Medieval and Early Modern finds expert-:

Michael and Ian cleaning finds

Q: What is the most exciting find so far (in your opinion), and why?


A: Well there are two that stand out. Early in the dig a replica 17th Century slipware jug was found. I believe this shows both the broad extent of the discipline of archaeology and its ‘human face’ – finds such as these bring a wider cultural perspective to the site, as it indicates the continued interest in the English Civil War through different periods of modern history. This creates an interesting situation for archaeologists digging around Basing House, who often have to consider whether their finds are from the Early Modern period or from much more recent Civil War re-enactor societies.
The other significant find is a small Roman coin which managed to escape the 1960’s excavation. This is the first found on site, and when coupled with several other Roman finds on site, this strongly suggests Roman occupation. Acceleration of scientific techniques in the last few years such as Reflective Transformance Imaging (RTI) makes tiny finds such as this coin even more significant because of the improved history it gives surrounding Basing House.

Q: Is there an area of finds (or lack of) you’re disappointed with from this particular site?

Sophie and Will


A: I would have certainly liked more evidence of the original Civil War siege. Certainly the excavation of the 1960’s may have played a role in this lack of finds. It has attributed to the Basing House dig feeling like much more of a Roman and Iron Age affair, partly because previous excavators were less aware of identifying earlier archaeological finds, meaning much of it is still being found today. Already there is an abundance of Roman finds, such as locally made pottery, blank mosaic tile, Roman brick and the one coin already mentioned. However, the Civil War side of things has been unfortunately much less prolific, with only one musket ball being found in a site situated just next to Basing House. However, there is the rich ‘archaeology’ left behind by the 1960’s diggers!

Our first musket ball

Pink lipstick – help us date it!


Filed under: Day Eleven, Student Reporter, Summer Excavation Tagged: archaeology, Basing House, finds, student-reporter, undergraduate

Day 10 – The discovery of a Roman coin! – by Phoebe

The archaeology of the sections so far… The excavation has reached it’s tenth day here at Basing House, and as all the sections are hitting their respective base layers it is easy to see from looking at the section edges of the trench as well as the finds from each of the contexts we have […]

The archaeology of the sections so far…

The excavation has reached it’s tenth day here at Basing House, and as all the sections are hitting their respective base layers it is easy to see from looking at the section edges of the trench as well as the finds from each of the contexts we have removed, the changing archaeology of each soil layer and perhaps even their era of human activity…

The site so far…


1. The top of the section marks the civil war defensive bank, possibly a large layer of buried soil has since accumulated on top of the previously excavated site. This large soil layer owes to large numbers of plant roots and grasses making up the turf layer, and tends not to have many serious finds.

2. The second layer shows some of the first evidence of earlier human activity, as it is inundated with brick and burnt flint fragments across the site. The previous excavations show at least 5 barrow-loads of burnt flint were extracted from the trench possibly dating back to the Roman period, but we’re still finding it in abundance on site today! These pieces of flint we’re removing are easily smashed up and sharp and finding flakes and worked fragments is not necessarily a rarity. Apart from the flint and brick we are also finding evidence of roman pottery production from pieces of pot rim all the way from the Iron Age, as well as the odd few old roman coins! The earlier excavation recorded 4 of these coins but earlier today we did find another.

3. The next layer is more chalky and possibly a more believable base layer due to it being extensive in the pits, maybe even dating back to the Roman era also.

4. Beneath this chalky layer is what we’re currently looking to find in all the sections, the black soil layer. Elsewhere on site this base layer has been found, but another base layer we’ve been finding is more of natural orange clay.

The side of the trench!

The Post Hole…

In one of our more extensive sections we have evidence of a post hole, this would have been a wooden post surrounded by large pieces of flint, which we can now see jutting out from the trench edge from within a baulk. These large fragments of flint would have been rammed in around the wooden post to keep it upright and in place; it would have needed to be completely stable and upright. No evidence of wood seems to remain from what we’ve seen so far, which suggests that the post was probably removed from the hole rather than have rotted away.

The Post Hole…

The Roman Coin…

Earlier today a very small Roman coin was found, believed to be from the 3rd Century AD. The Romans conquered Britain in 43AD and due to later metal shortages coins did tend to get smaller, maybe explaining this coins tiny size! This however could be explained further by the diversity of mints across Britain, owing to different kinds of coins dependent on location. We’re finding this coin hard to identify due to it’s condition and limited lettering, but the popular opinion at the moment due to dates is that this coin would have held the image of Lucius, and due to it’s location at Basing House could have come from the Winchester mint.

The Roman Coin!

Close up of the Roman Coin, can you see the lettering?

A picture of the coin zoomed in…


Filed under: Day Ten, Student Reporter, Summer Excavation Tagged: archaeology, Basing House, coin, post hole, roman, roman coin, sections, student-reporter, undergraduate

Guest Blog: Will Heard – Spring 2013 Survey Results Part 2

Last week we published a guest post from Will Heard, as a summary of the Spring Survey that the University of Southampton students carried out this April-May. Here is Will’s second and final blog post about the survey results. Thanks again to Will! — Basing House Spring Survey Part 2 by Will Heard, 2013 Will […]

Last week we published a guest post from Will Heard, as a summary of the Spring Survey that the University of Southampton students carried out this April-May. Here is Will’s second and final blog post about the survey results.

Will Heard

Will Heard

Thanks again to Will!

Basing House Spring Survey Part 2

by Will Heard, 2013
Will is a third year undergraduate student, with interests in survey, geophysics and the use of computers for archaeological purposes. He is interested in any period of history, having worked at Basing House and on a Bronze Age site amongst others.  He is currently working on his undergraduate dissertation, which aims to use GIS systems to reveal the theoretical effectiveness against invasion of a small section of the World War II G.H.Q Line in Essex.

The Motte Resistivity Survey

Figure 2 shows the resistivity plot of part of the Motte interior with notable features enclosed in coloured lines. The bottom left high resistivity feature is most probably related to the still accessible cellar, which can be seen as a large depression on the contours.

The  high resistivity feature at the far bottom of the image has no associated topographic evidence, but it is situated in a position that may suggest it is a continuation of the feature running parallel to the cellar. If this is so, then the high resistivity feature next to the cellar may not be directly related to  it after all. The other most interesting feature is the slight low resistance feature highlighted in green, which represents a dip on the topographic model. The ground raises up to a point which is a well (circled white in Figure 3). The presence of the well leads to the assumption that this area was some sort of courtyard or open air space. This is supported by Peer’s plan of his excavations (Figure 1).

Figure 1 - Plan of the Old House as excavated by Peers. After (Royal Archaeological Institute 1924: 362).

Figure 1 – Plan of the Old House as excavated by Peers. After (Royal Archaeological Institute 1924: 362).

Figure 2 - Resistivity Survey of part of the motte interior. Notable features are enclosed by coloured lines. Negative ohm values caused by the high pass filter. Contours from a raster. ArcGIS 10.1.

Figure 2 – Resistivity Survey of part of the motte interior. Notable features are enclosed by coloured lines. Negative ohm values caused by the high pass filter. Contours from a raster. ArcGIS 10.1.

Figure 3  - Motte interior resistivity draped over the 3D TIN surface. From the north. Light from the east at 45 degrees. Vertical exaggeration at 1.5.

Figure 3 – Motte interior resistivity draped over the 3D TIN surface. From the north. Light from the east at 45 degrees. Vertical exaggeration at 1.5.

The New House Resistivity Survey

The New House site was the largest of the three areas surveyed with Resistivity and has a lot of strong features. The most obvious features are the straight lines along the entire left side of Figure 13. These are undoubtedly buried foundations of the raised New House.

The circular anomalies are towers of the sort seen in Hollar’s drawing (see Figure 15). The strength of these anomalies suggests excellent preservation and indeed, an excavation uncovered some of these remains and did not fully fill in the trenches. The resulting depression in the topography can be seen in the foreground of Figure 14.

The very low (white) anomalies in the same area are possibly caused by a slow build-up of moist, humic soils in the unfilled excavation trenches. Given the aforementioned evidence, it appears unlikely the anomalies are of historical origin. However, further south in Figure 13, some of the unexcavated strong circular anomalies enclose areas of extremely low resistance. These may be the result of filled sunken floors, or quarrying straight after the final Civil War siege.

Another area of interest is on the right of Figure 13, which is circled by a green line. This area is highly variable, with pixels of very high and low resistance and it is unclear what these readings represent. More areas of interest include the horizontal line feature and various other patches of high resistance in Figure 13.

Figure 4 - Resistivity Survey of the New House area. Notable features are enclosed by coloured lines. Negative ohm values caused by the high pass filter. Contours from a raster. ArcGIS 10.1.

Figure 4 – Resistivity Survey of the New House area. Notable features are enclosed by coloured lines. Negative ohm values caused by the high pass filter. Contours from a raster. ArcGIS 10.1.

Figure 5 - New House resistivity plot draped over the 3D TIN. Red lines show features with associated topographic variations. From the north. Light from the east at 45 degrees. Vertical exaggeration at 1.5. ArcGIS 10.1.

Figure 5 – New House resistivity plot draped over the 3D TIN. Red lines show features with associated topographic variations. From the north. Light from the east at 45 degrees. Vertical exaggeration at 1.5. ArcGIS 10.1.

Figure 6 - Wenceslaus Hollar's 'The Siege of Basing House'. The text reads 'A THE OLD HOUSE. B. THE NEW. C. THE TOWER THAT IS HALFE BATTERED DOWN. D. KINGS BREASTWORKS. E. PARLAMENTS BREASTWORKS' [sic]. After (Wikipedia 2013)

Figure 6 – Wenceslaus Hollar’s ‘The Siege of Basing House’. The text reads ‘A THE OLD HOUSE. B. THE NEW. C. THE TOWER THAT IS HALFE BATTERED DOWN. D. KINGS BREASTWORKS. E. PARLAMENTS BREASTWORKS’ [sic]. After (Wikipedia 2013)

Everyone was very pleased with how the survey went, despite some bitterly cold days and an afternoon of menacing weather in the first week. I hope that these highlights from the data illustrate just what can be done with all the data we gathered although someone more savvy with the computer software could do things much more impressive than this. Various sub-surface features were linked to surface features observable on the topographic model.  Some of these were easily dated thanks to their close proximity to known quantities, like the New House, while others were less easily identifiable. The lack of confident dates on numerous features is a reason for more work, especially excavation, on site in the future. Lastly, I would personally encourage anybody who has not been before, to go and see this great site.

References

(1924). Proceedings at Meetings of the Royal Archaeological Institute. The Archaeological Journal 81. Royal Archaeological Institute. 315-380. (Basing House pp. 359-364).

English Heritage (last updated 2004). National Monuments Record, Basing House. at: http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archsearch/record.jsf?titleId=1033242; 27 Feb. 2013.

English Heritage. (2007a). Pastscape, Basing House at: http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=240444; 01 May 2013.

Wikipedia. (2013). Wenesclaus Hollar – The Siege of Basing House at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wenceslaus_Hollar_-_The_Siege_of_Basing_House.jpg; 6 Mar 2013.

Wikipedia. (2013). Launceston Castle at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Launceston_Castle_-_geograph.org.uk_-_22242.jpg; 12 Jul 13


Filed under: Spring Survey, Student Research Post, Will Heard Tagged: building survey, gpr, gps, ground penetrating radar, leica, magnetic susceptibility, magnetometry, new house, old house, resistance survey, resistivity, survey, surveying, topographic, total station, undergraduate

Guest Blog: Will Heard – Spring 2013 Survey Results Part 1

As part of the Spring Survey that the University of Southampton students carried out this April-May, undergraduate Archaeology students who attended the fieldwork were asked to write a report summarising the survey data. One of the students that attended the Spring Survey, Will Heard, has written a summary of his report, and has kindly allowed […]

As part of the Spring Survey that the University of Southampton students carried out this April-May, undergraduate Archaeology students who attended the fieldwork were asked to write a report summarising the survey data.

One of the students that attended the Spring Survey, Will Heard, has written a summary of his report, and has kindly allowed us to share it with our readers. Will has written so much, that we’re sharing part 1 this week, and part 2 next week!

Thanks Will!

Basing House Spring Survey Part 1

Will Heard

Will Heard

by Will Heard, 2013
Will is a third year undergraduate student, with interests in survey, geophysics and the use of computers for archaeological purposes. He is interested in any period of history, having worked at Basing House and on a Bronze Age site amongst others.  He is currently working on his undergraduate dissertation, which aims to use GIS systems to reveal the theoretical effectiveness against invasion of a small section of the World War II G.H.Q Line in Essex.

Survey Summary

During March and April 2013 a topographic and geophysical survey was undertaken at Basing House by University of Southampton staff and students. Most of the topographic survey was carried out in week one between the 18th and 22nd March, while all of the geophysical survey was carried out in week two, between the 8th and 12th April. The work aimed to further the understanding of the sites layout and history by providing a computer model which will allow more detailed analysis of the landscape, and possibly help us see things our naked eyes cannot. The model will consolidate much of the smaller scale on site investigation (excavations, geophysics) which have been carried out and documented in the past. Similarly, future work of all types will be able to use the model to add onto a coherent body of knowledge. The geophysical and building survey, which was carried out alongside the topographic work, will add to this body of knowledge on Basing House.

Introducing the Site

The area has a long history with the earliest known finds dating from the Mesolithic era, although this occupation is not currently seen as continuing, since Neolithic remains are rare to nonexistent on the site (English Heritage 2004). Bronze Age flint, as well as Iron Age and Roman ceramics have also been recovered (English Heritage 2004). The most discussed period of the sites history starts in the Medieval period, with the construction of the Motte and Bailey castle (see central round and plateau like feature in figure 1) and later the Old and New Houses (inside and to the east of the motte in figure 1). The Motte and Bailey were erected sometime in the twelfth century AD and the Old and New Houses erected one after the other in the sixteenth century AD. The New House merited its own earthworks to the east of the Motte and Bailey and later, semi-circular Civil War gun platforms were added onto the earlier Medieval outer bank to the south. After the Civil War the houses were demolished, with much of the stonework taken and used in the nearby village. Other features include a dry and filled in part of the eighteenth century Basingstoke Canal (north edge of figure 1).

Figure 1 - OS Map data with a polygon overlaid (red line). The polygon represents the extent of the area surveyed topographically. ArcGIS 10.1. © Crown Copyright/database right 2013. An Ordnance Survey/EDINA supplied service.

Figure 1 – OS Map data with a polygon overlaid (red line). The polygon represents the extent of the area surveyed topographically. ArcGIS 10.1.
© Crown Copyright/database right 2013. An Ordnance Survey/EDINA supplied service.

Below, figure 2 shows the areas that were surveyed with resistivity equipment. The contours in this figure are derived from a raster.

Figure 2 - The area surveyed with resistivity equipment (contours derived from a raster). ArcGIS 10.1. © Crown Copyright/database right 2013. An Ordnance Survey/EDINA supplied service.

Figure 2 – The area surveyed with resistivity equipment (contours derived from a raster). ArcGIS 10.1.
© Crown Copyright/database right 2013. An Ordnance Survey/EDINA supplied service.

Since the survey produced one continuous area of data (see figure 3 and figure 4 below), the following pictures have some degree of overlap. The area has been split into four areas: A, B, C and D. The topographic areas B and C are the highlights included in this week’s blog post. In terms of the resistivity survey, the highlights were the Motte interior survey and the New House site survey.

Figure 3 - Basing House complete TIN with features overlain. ArcGIS 10.1

Figure 3 – Basing House complete TIN with features overlain. ArcGIS 10.1

Figure 4 - Basing House complete Raster with features overlain. ArcGIS 10.1

Figure 4 – Basing House complete Raster with features overlain. ArcGIS 10.1

Area B

Area B is the southernmost area surveyed and has the highest general elevation of any of this report’s areas. It comprises what is thought to be a long semi-circular bank that was possibly constructed at a similar time to the Motte and Bailey, as well as three Civil War raised gun platforms (English Heritage 2007a). These are clearly visible on the ground and are highlighted in figure 5. It is possible that the fact the three gun platforms are attached to the bank means that the bank was constructed earlier, since a connecting bank between Civil War gun platforms would not always be necessary. In the Civil War, the bank would have provided good cover against bombardment or assault from the south and so adding gun platforms to an already good fortification was the logical course of action. At points the ditch protecting the bank is deeper, for example at the westernmost end. Towards the southern end the ditch becomes very shallow. This variation is probably due to the natural topography, which gets higher as one goes further south on our model, this variation is highlighted in figure 6 below.

Figure 5 -  Area B TIN and Raster. ArcGIS 10.1.

Figure 5 – Area B TIN and Raster. ArcGIS 10.1.

Figure 6 - Area B 3D TIN with features added. From the east. Light from the east at 45 degrees. Vertical exaggeration at 1.5. ArcGIS 10.1.

Figure 6 – Area B 3D TIN with features added. From the east. Light from the east at 45 degrees. Vertical exaggeration at 1.5. ArcGIS 10.1.

Area C

Area C is the centre of the topographic survey area and comprises the Motte, Bailey and their respective ditches. The elevation of this area is generally quite high, while being lower than Area B (see figures 7 and 8 below).

Figure 7 - Area C TIN and Raster. ArcGIS 10.1.

Figure 7 – Area C TIN and Raster. ArcGIS 10.1.

Figure 8 - Area C 3D TIN with features added. From the west. Light coming from the east at 45 degrees. Vertical exaggeration at 1.5.

Figure 8 – Area C 3D TIN with features added. From the west. Light coming from the east at 45 degrees. Vertical exaggeration at 1.5.

The Motte and Bailey ditches are very deep, survive very well and show very nicely on the topographic models. All of the surviving cellars inside the motte lend support to Peer’s plan (figure 9 below).

Figure 9 - Plan of the Old House as excavated by Peers. After (Royal Archaeological Institute 1924: 362).

Figure 9 – Plan of the Old House as excavated by Peers.
After (Royal Archaeological Institute 1924: 362).

The variations on the east side of the bailey are caused by a previous excavation that was carried out before a bridge over the ditch was constructed. The yellow line (north side of figure 8 above) represents a raised piece of ground and is the location of a large tree.

The topographic model shows the Motte being higher than the Bailey. This is to be expected, both because the land naturally goes down northwards, but also because the Motte was where the Lord would have resided.

The form of the Motte and Bailey is very similar to other examples like Launceston Castle (figure 10 below).

Figure 10 - Launceston Castle. In size, it is smaller than Basing House. However, its Motte and Bailey design is similar. After (Wikipedia 2013)

Figure 10 – Launceston Castle. In size, it is smaller than Basing House. However, its Motte and Bailey design is similar.
After (Wikipedia 2013)

References

Anon. (1924). Proceedings at Meetings of the Royal Archaeological Institute. The Archaeological Journal 81. Royal Archaeological Institute. 315-380. (Basing House pp. 359-364).

English Heritage (last updated 2004). National Monuments Record, Basing House. at: http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archsearch/record.jsf?titleId=1033242; 27 Feb. 2013.

English Heritage. (2007a). Pastscape, Basing House at: http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=240444; 01 May 2013.

Wikipedia. (2013). Wenesclaus Hollar – The Siege of Basing House at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wenceslaus_Hollar_-_The_Siege_of_Basing_House.jpg; 6 Mar 2013.

Wikipedia. (2013). Launceston Castle at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Launceston_Castle_-_geograph.org.uk_-_22242.jpg; 12 Jul 13

Next Week: Part 2

In the next post, we’ll look at the results from the Motte resistivity survey and the New House resistivity survey.


Filed under: Spring Survey, Student Research Post, Will Heard Tagged: building survey, gpr, gps, ground penetrating radar, magnetic susceptibility, magnetometry, new house, old house, resistance survey, resistivity, survey, topographic, total station, undergraduate, will-heard

Basing House Survey Final Day – A rain check and some reflections

Reblogged from Kristian Strutt: The second week of survey at Basing House finished on Friday in a spray of mud and rain, hailstones and inky cloud. What had promised to be a reasonable day quickly became unworkable, wet and cold. The teams set out for the final day of survey, focusing on completion of the […]

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The second week of survey at Basing House finished on Friday in a spray of mud and rain, hailstones and inky cloud. What had promised to be a reasonable day quickly became unworkable, wet and cold. The teams set out for the final day of survey, focusing on completion of the magnetometry and resistivity in the area of the New House and outer bailey, and GPR over the outer bailey also.

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Kris Strutt's blog on Day Five of the Week Two geophysics work at Basing House.

Basing House Survey, Day Four – Spring finally arrives!

Reblogged from Kristian Strutt: We have had some really productive days on the second phase of survey at Basing House, with third year and postgraduate students from the University of Southamotin working hard, and carrying out resistance survey, magnetometry, GPR and magnetic susceptibility of the Old and New houses, and Civil War defences and the […]

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We have had some really productive days on the second phase of survey at Basing House, with third year and postgraduate students from the University of Southamotin working hard, and carrying out resistance survey, magnetometry, GPR and magnetic susceptibility of the Old and New houses, and Civil War defences and the outer bailey. Spring also finally arrived today after single-figure temperatures and damp weather.

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Week Two, Day Four by Kris Strutt.

Basing House Spring Survey – Week 2 Day One

Reblogged from Kristian Strutt: After a few weeks out of the field, the staff and students from the University of Southampton arrived back at Basing House to start the geophysical survey component of the fieldwork. A mix of third year students from Archaeology and Oceanography, Erasmus students and postgraduates headed out to the site. Chris […]

Reblogged from Kristian Strutt:

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After a few weeks out of the field, the staff and students from the University of Southampton arrived back at Basing House to start the geophysical survey component of the fieldwork. A mix of third year students from Archaeology and Oceanography, Erasmus students and postgraduates headed out to the site. Chris Elmer again gave the group a tour of the site, while supervisors commenced gridding out the site using Smartnet GPS.

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Week Two, Day One by Kris Strutt.

Spring Survey Week One – Day Four

Today was a cold but very productive day up at Basing House. The student teams are getting faster at recording topography and have covered huge areas of the site. Surveying in the limits of the New House has been tricky as there are partial walls to try to identify. One of the student teams is […]

Today was a cold but very productive day up at Basing House.

Preparing for day four of the topographic and building survey. March 2013.

The student teams are getting faster at recording topography and have covered huge areas of the site.

On day four, students have been surveying the earthworks at the south east of the site.

Surveying in the limits of the New House has been tricky as there are partial walls to try to identify.

Surveying the New House stables.

One of the student teams is made up of Masters students, two of whom are planning to use Basing House as the major case study for their dissertation projects. The Masters students were working on surveying the very complex interior of the Old House today. It was out of the wind, but still very cold!

The interior of the Old House today. It was out of the wind, but still very cold!

I started a photographic suvey of the various grafitti on the site. The photos below show examples of the variety of graffiti in the Old House etched into the plaster. We’re planning to use some new computational photography techniques to record this in the summer.

Grafitti in the Old House.

Grafitti in the Old House.

There is also lots of grafitti elsewhere on the site. This stone column is mounted in the wall of the Bothy, in amongst the corbels, and has a great picture of a man with what looks like a huge feather in his hat. We’ll be recording it all later this year.The corbels with their grotesque and animal faces are really fantastic. I think these would be great to record using photogrammetry to create 3D models of them as a record.

There are lots of corbels and graffitied stonework sections that I will use photogrammetry to record in the next week of surveying in April.

There are lots of stonework details around the site that have been reused to support various parts of the excavated ruins that I have started recording. It would be great to record these in detail and begin to think about finding out more about the various pieces of masonry. You can see from the images below that there are some really very high quality window and door details being used to prop up earth banks. These were put here in the late 1800s, so the ‘new’ location is just as historically interesting as the stone pieces’ original use.

In the late 1800s, much of the discovered stonework was reused to create features and support brickwork. It’d be great to record this in the summer.

Some more reused stonework in the Old House hall cellar.

Stonework resituated in the Old House.

We’ve been having a few visitors to the site over the past week, as Basing House is open to the public and we are happy to chat to people as they walk by. There have also been some visitors from local societies. Tim Sly has been printing daily reference images for the students to use as quick reference checks to ensure that we are covering the entire site, and these have been very handy to use to show interested visitors what we have been getting up to.

This is a TIN (a map of 3D data created automatically from the points the student teams have been surveying in) with some contours on it. Its only a small part of the larger survey that we have been doing, but it gives an idea of the high quality of the data that the teams have been collecting.

We had visitors today. Here, Tim and I are showing someone a print out of some of the data the students have been producing.

Lizzie Richley has been using the GPS since Wednesday to record parts of the site that the student teams are finding are difficult to survey using a total station. The GPS that we have been using does not need a base camp and so there is no cumbersome backpack to carry around. Lizzie showed me how the new GPS works, and I had a great time surveying in part of the motte and bailey this afternoon.

Lizzie spent time showing me the new GPS today., Here we are in the entrance of the Old House.

The new GPS has a function to see a map of all of the spot points, lines and areas that you have surveyed in. Its so satisfying to see all of the points appear as you walk the area that you are recording.

Using the GPS to survey parts of the site that would take a long time to use a total station to record.

Lizzie spent time showing me the new GPS today., Here we are in the entrance of the Old House.

Using the GPS to survey in spot points on the motte and bailey.

The GPS is great, but the stars of the show really are the student surveying teams. The work that they have been doing is really great. They have been working together to collect great quality data that will result in one of the first comprehensive surveys of Basing House. Without them this survey really would not have been possible. All 25 students and 8 staff members have been giving 100% to ensure that we get topographic coverage across the whole of the site; not to mention the additional building survey, which will give us a clear record of the Great Barn interior.

Tomorrow is the last day for this first part of the survey (we continue again with geophysics between the 8th – 12th April), and there is heavy rain forecast for the afternoon, so we will be working even harder to try to finish the survey before the rain sets in. So wish us luck!

Surveying the New House.


Filed under: Spring Survey Tagged: building survey, corbels, festival of british archaeology, grafitti, kdstrutt, knot garden, leica, new house, old house, photogrammetry, rain, recording, rti, stonework, survey, surveying, topographic, total station, undergraduate

Basing House Survey Week 1 Day Three – Traversing the Old House Ringwork and Tops and Toes

Reblogged from Kristian Strutt: The third day of archaeological survey at Basing House is over, and the survey teams are really getting in to the swing of things. The two minibuses arrived at 9.20am, driving from sunny Southampton into mist and freezing temperatures around Basingstoke, ready for another exciting day at the site. Read more… […]

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The third day of archaeological survey at Basing House is over, and the survey teams are really getting in to the swing of things. The two minibuses arrived at 9.20am, driving from sunny Southampton into mist and freezing temperatures around Basingstoke, ready for another exciting day at the site.

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I wasn't able to travel up to site today due to other work commitments, but Kris Strutt has written an excellent blog post about day three of the survey over at - http://kdstrutt.wordpress.com/ Thanks Kris! It looks like it was a fascinating day, I can't wait to see tomorrow how the teams are getting on.

Spring Survey Week One – Day Two

Today was the second day on site for staff and students from the surveying module.  The weather was changeable (to say the least!), but the teams still managed to get almost a full day’s work in. We were all feeling confident as we arrived on site this morning, and the teams set up quickly and […]

Today was the second day on site for staff and students from the surveying module.  The weather was changeable (to say the least!), but the teams still managed to get almost a full day’s work in. We were all feeling confident as we arrived on site this morning, and the teams set up quickly and smoothly. There was just enough time to take a group snap before everyone ran off to begin their work!

Group shot! Undergraduate Archaeology and Archaeology/History students and staff at the Basing House Survey, week one.

The plan for our week here on site is for the seven teams of students and staff to move gradually through the site, surveying as we go. Each team works on a delimited area, using landmarks such as wall and tree lines to mark where the surveying is taking place, identifying also a small overlap with any neighbouring teams. We’re aiming to survey a large part of the site, but Basing House really is very extensive, so we are not sure how far we’re going to get in the time that we have available.

Day two of surveying. Tim giving the morning briefing to the students, before separating into teams for the day.

Our seven teams of four students and one staff member are using one total station, and have two prisms, so that every student has an opportunity to take part in each aspect of topographic surveying and building surveying with a Leica. The Leica’s we’re using are brand new (they’re so clean and sparkly), and we’ve been really impressed with how user friendly this new manifestation of the kit is.

Tim and students plan moving the total station.

You may notice from the photograph above that the sky was getting darker as the day progressed. The teams were working hard to get the areas in which they were based finished before the rain started.

Thunder and lightning pauses the surveying. The dramatic skies did make for some good photos!

By three o’clock the weather closed in on us and halted work. We all sheltered in the Bothy, and eventually reluctantly decided to travel back to the University to download the day’s data. There was even some hail as we were driving away from the site!

Sheltering from the rain, the teams enjoy a quick cup of tea and discuss surveying tactics.

Back at the university, we downloaded the data. There have been a few problems with automatic numbering of stations, but we’ll work round it!

Downloading data back at the University.

Downloading data from the total station.

Total stations awaiting data download.

Kris Strutt is blogging about his work on the site during the Spring Survey, so do check out his blog here: http://kdstrutt.wordpress.com/

One of the undergraduate teams working on the site has been surveying in the topography of the filled in trenches that we will be excavating this summer. Today, as they were surveying, I took some shots of the team as they provide an excellent scale for the trenches; thanks guys!

The trenches we will be excavating this summer.

The trenches we will be excavating this summer. Two of our undergraduate students inadvertently providing a scale for the site!

This morning some of the team for the summer excavations met with the education staff based at Basing House to plan some activities for the summer season.

We’ve been brainstorming the kinds of things that we could do, students and volunteers meeting public visiting the site. Its really exciting to think that we’ll be here over the period of the Festival of British Archaeology (13th – 28th July) and so we’re hoping to work with Hampshire County Council staff to provide drop in sessions in the last week of the Festival.


Filed under: Festival of British Archaeology, Spring Survey Tagged: building survey, festival of british archaeology, leica, surveying, topographic, total station, trenches, undergraduate