Kelmscott Manor Community Archaeology: Archaeological survey

The second season of Kelmscott Manor’s Community Archaeology Research Programme (CARP) has begun! Following on from last year’s test-pit excavations with volunteers and local schools, we’re now excavating a series of evaluation trenches at key areas in the surrounding village, to identify archaeological activity and evidence of earlier settlement.

In preparation for this fieldwork, thirteen volunteers attended two days of training, focusing on desktop research and field mapping exercises, to help identify potential archaeological features in several fields, giving us further indications of where we might want to position our evaluation trenches.

Archaeological desk-based interpretation

During the first day, volunteers were introduced to landscape surveying techniques and used existing knowledge, reports, and sources — such as LiDAR, geophysics, aerial photography, and historic maps — to identify and interpret changes to the Society of Antiquities land that surrounds Kelmscott Manor. A number of potential earthwork features were then transcribed to enable the production of a digital record.

Fieldwalking of archaeological earthworks

Our volunteers then returned to Kelmscott to undertake a landscape survey, using all they had learnt during the first day’s training.

Volunteer, Matt, inputting measurement and photographical data into Field Maps

This session focused on identifying potential archaeological features ‘on the ground’, as part of a ground truthing/ fieldwalking exercise. The features transcribed as part of the first session were visited to identify any visible remains, with the volunteers taking measurements and photographs, then entering the information into Field Maps, an online app which enables us to record features when we’re out in the field. 

Our volunteering team found it fascinating to be involved in the earlier stages of archaeological surveying, with one volunteer replying ‘thank you so much for such a brilliant day – loved it!’, and another mentioning that the training session ‘surpassed my expectations and I haven’t stopped talking about it.’ 

Many of the same team have returned to excavate the archaeological evaluation trenches, in the specifically-located areas they helped to identify. 

Eva Heimpel and Caz Adams

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