Sunday, 13 December 2009

Taking it to a Higher Level

As part of the on going investigations as to whether we should be getting involved in the Higher Level Stewardship a team of archaeologists have been looking at the farms archaeology. They have been trialing a system called 'COSMIC' which is based on a risk assessment to the archaeology. The study looks at each of the sights on the farm and tries to work out whether or not the current or past farming practices have or will put the archaeology in danger. The study looks at the field slope, soil depth, passed cropping and passed cultivation techniques to work out the potential risk. It also looks at futures plans for cropping and cultivation. The the system is then taken outside and hand dug test pits are dug to test the theory from the office. So far most of the test pits have come up with plenty of protection for the archaeology and no harm has been done through the farming practices. We will await the final report as the team still have a few sites left to look at. It any of the sites are shown to be at risk we may have to think about putting an HLS option on that land to protect it. These options could include using minimum tillage establishment techniques or grassing the field down in the most at risk cases. We wait to see! The test pit here is in a field of beans where they were looking to find an old roadway and various enclosures. the darker soil is the cultivation depth and the lighter soil is the subsoil, going down further in the top left corner goes even further down to the base rock layer where the archaeology would be found. In this scenario there is plenty of soil to buffer the archaeology from any of our farming operations.

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