Sunday, 17 April 2016

Geophiz survey

Members have just completed a geophiz survey of a manor house in West Dorset. No pics of the house or of substantial medieval finds from the owners excavation can be shown before permission is obtained, but here are the hard working Dorset Diggers in full flow! Results to follow.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Hidden Heritage Conference

At the conference (where I only heard the morning sessions) we had some interesting papers on various subjects to do with aspects of our historic environment that are overlooked somewhat.

From the archaeological point of view David Bruce presented 'Hidden in Plain View', about seeing our woods and trees as part of the human interaction with natural resources throughout our evolution. Most of our ancient woodland is not considered as important as historic gardens, but they are used and created by human hands and just as important in understanding how humans formed our present landscape.

Miles Russell, of Bournemouth University, showed how new technology can increase our knowledge of ancient people through sculpture. Called 'Finding Nero' he told us of the use of 3D laser scanning that cuts through grime and repairs to show the faces of these ancient works of art. Many busts of emperors have been misnamed, for example the famous one of Claudius in the British Museum is, in fact, Nero.

The shape of a chin, the brow ridge and even the hair style, can be seen in crisp detail with this technology. Also, the individual hammer blows of ancient defacing of the unpopular emperor.

James Wright, Museum of London, brought us 'Cultural Anxieties and ritual protection in early modern status houses'. He showed that scorch marks on timbers around doors, fireplaces and roof timbers are to keep out demons and spirits in the 16th & 17th c. right up to the 20th! They could come through cracks like drafts, apparently. Hence putting up stockings over the fireplace and touching wood for luck. If you go in any old house chances are you will find these marks.

Other papers were the role of volunteers, Poole's maritime archaeology, protected shipwreck sites and how we should, or should not, restore or rebuild town monuments.

Some of our heritage is unseen, unknown, undervalued and untold. This conference would be some way to shine a light on theses aspects, as much as on our stately homes, ancient monuments and churches.      

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Resistance is useless? No it's not.

Yesterday some of the group were back in Nether Compton investigating a curious flat surface in a gentleman's back garden. It gave us the chance to practice using our Resistivity meter and survey the site. We put the training by the team at Geoflo to good use. We set out a 10 meter grid on a north/south alignment and got to work.
Hopefully we can get some useful data from the site, I will post our results soon!