Type: Evaluation Essays
Sample donated: Gail Morton
Last updated: April 7, 2019
In this assignment I will be analyzing and critically evaluate two different archaeological reports, the first one is a survey report about Wilsford Barrows cemetery and the second one is a geophysical survey about surface mine near Whittonstall. So I will discuss and assess how effectively each report succeeds as a ‘level 3 report’ as defined by the English Heritage. Comparing and considering these reports I am going to see their relative effectiveness at conveying archaeological information and interpretations. Finally, considering the practical/field work on which these reports are based I will try to interpret and recommend the current issues that may have been developed around access to that works.1.
Stonehenge World Heritage Site Landscape Project Wilsford Barrows Archaeological Survey Report by Mark BowdenAccording to this archaeological survey, Wilsford Barrows it’s a group of major importance cemeteries located in Stonehenge. Even though the Wilsford Barrows group surveying near a monument of great importance and numerous studies conducted around this (Stonehenge), unfortunately has received less attention than most other major barrow groups and has not been the subject of modern excavation (aerial survey or geophysical survey) and no field-walking has taken place near it.This barrow cemetery, according to Mark Bowden contain nineteen round barrows of various forms, of which fourteen survive but according Timothy Darvill contains eighteen round barrows. It’s mostly excavated in the early 19th century by William Cunnington and Sir Colt Houre, who found several burials and cremations, with grave goods.
Unfortunately some of them had been opened by previous antiquarians – so we have no record about them. Based the new field survey (earthwork, aerial photographic, grave goods, cremations and inhumations evidence ) that have been taken in 20th century coupled Cunnington’s and Sir Colt Houre’s excavation records the cemetery is dated to the Early Bronze Age.In this work, Mark Bowden gives us information about the geological, topographical and land-use of Wilsford Barrows. Also, he makes us a historical overview of the work that is done in this area. He describes the place with precise details as giving coordinates, dimensions and general landscape information’s.
Furthermore, he analyzes each borrow separately giving us details about grave goods (the range of finds recovered from the excavation of round barrows is impressive and very considerable, it includes not only the usual selection of pottery, ornaments, and weaponry, but also some extremely unusual pieces such as the bone whistle made from the long bone of a swan and the bronze two-pronged object which has sometimes been seen as a ‘standard’ of some kind or part of a double handle and chain from a cauldron or similar and Imported objects are also represented including the very rare glass bead etc.), dimensions for the graves, burials and cremation and raises the questions and the discussions that were created around them. He, also, provides us with some photos of the area (a map, an ordnance survey antiquity model, two aerials photographs, and a survey plan), an image with a grave good and some tables with data found in the excavation.According to Level 3 report from English Heritage, this archaeological survey report of Mark Bowden gives us all the information that we need to understand the time, the space, and the conditions of this excavation.
The scale of the images that have been used were correct (1:1000 or larger). It was really easy for me to read and understand it but I think that the range of measured and annotated drawings as well as photographs and reconstruction/phased diagrams was poor, I needed more.2. Hoodsclose Proposed Surface Mine near Whittonstall Northumberland Geophysical Survey by Sam Harrison ; Alistair WebbThis geophysical (magnetometer) survey is dedicated to Ms. M.
Ball of UK Coal Mining Ltd in order to inform about the design of the proposed of hoodsclose surface mine. This surface mine is situated near Whittonstall in Northumberland and according to archaeological background the identified features include a potential Roman fort, a possible Iron Age enclosure and post-medieval coal mining activity. Responsible for this archaeological fieldwork was Sam Harrison and Tom Weavill and take place in December 2009. Numerous anomalies have also been identified in all the remaining survey blocks. These anomalies are interpreted as being due to geological or topographical variation, agricultural practice or modern activity, and probably associated with small scale, localized extractive industry.Site location, topography, soils, geology, land-use, methodology (magnetometer survey) are some of the points that this report focus. According to Sam Harrison ; Alistair Webb the general aim of the geophysical evaluation was to establish the suitability of magnetometer survey to identify archaeological features on the prevailing soils and geology and to therefore clarify the potential for archaeological features within the proposed site boundary.
This information would then be used to inform further pre-determination evaluation works which may include stage of geophysical survey. They provide us with too many maps and magnetometer results/data in order to understand the area.The authors focused on the field-work magnetometer survey and the publication of several maps. There is no specific way of writing a geophysical (magnetometer) survey but in order to be able to reach some results, concerning the Level 3 report, we must take the guidelines outlined by English Heritage and by the IfA. The scale of the images that have been used were correct (1:1000 or larger). Is not difficult to understand this survey but when it comes a time for considering the pictures, if you do not know about magnetometer data you can’t interpret them.
This was the only difficulty that I encountered.Conclusion:Both surveys can be said that they were effective, and depending on the way of writing, convey to readers archaeological information and interpretation. You can get the main point. I think that both of them can be characterized as Level 3 report, but both of them have some deficiencies. I would personally prefer the first survey because it was easier to me to understand it, it was clearly and I have read it more easily. But I would prefer to contain more images of the findings and more area maps.
I hope that through this assignment I was able to answer the points that I have raised in the beginning.