Thursday, 10 March 2011

Archaeological Anticipation

Over the past month we have been paying special attention to one of our Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAM) right on the summit of Bredon Hill.  The Kemerton Hill Fort is thought to be about 2700 years old and was built in the Iron Age period of time.

Over the years the field has changed with some quarrying taking place, to provide local stone, maybe for houses or stone walling.  As a result we have an area of erosion, where the land has slipped away.

The erosion was uncovering some very interesting changes in soil type, colouring and even an old bone or two.  The erosion here has been caused by heavy rain, sheep movements and general wear and tear.  The dark area of soil (left) is thought to be a hole for a post, maybe a fence for corraling cattle or even part of a house.  There are other areas of the hill fort that are suffering from erosion by mountain bikes, (we will tackle these bits another day). 

Under our HLS agreement we have secured some funding to repair the erosion scar's, thus protecting the archaeology for future generations.  Adam (Worcester Archaeological Service) was  employed as part of the repair to survey and record what was being uncovered, before the face was sealed up again.  GPS measurements, readings and photographs where all taken as an official record of the event.

After the excavations had been completed the repair work could begin!  Leigh Watts, who is a local landscape gardner, was detailed with the prescription to repair, as detailed by English Heritage.

Stone from the quarry was used to build up the main layer and the final dressing of soil was collected from within the field boundary, by collecting up mole hill dirt!  We actually collected a JCB bucket load, it took a while but luckily the moles obliged!  This dirt was then spread over the stones and within a plastic mesh to stop further erosion until grass can establish.  The grass seed will be collected later this year again from within the field boundary, although I'm sure there will be some seed from within the mole hill dirt that will start the process off.  The sheep netting is a temporary boundary to stop unwanted feet and mouths disturbing the fresh soil.  The final picture shows the half compeleted repair but you will be glad to know that it is now fully restored!

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