Project Outline

Aerial photo of Damerham crop marks

AP 1 - NMR 21270/36 © English Heritage.NMR. Photographer: Damian Grady.

Damerham Archaeology Project has its roots in some aerial photographs taken during 1997 by Roger Featherstone of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME). He flew over the Damerham area in the autumn of 2007 on a routine reconnaissance flight and photographed faint soilmark traces of possible archaeological features in fields to the west of the village. In 2001 Roger’s successor, Damian Grady, flew over the same fields which this time were under crop. The sites seen by Roger four years earlier were now visible as cropmarks. Far more individual sites and much more detail could be seen. Martyn Barber, working in English Heritage’s Aerial Survey team, was involved in the never-ending task of working through Damian’s aerial photography. The Damerham cropmarks stood out as something of potentially great significance, something confirmed by mapping of the cropmarks in 2003 and a site visit.

The Damerham Archaeology Project aims to:

  1. Confirm the presence and refine the detail of the cropmark sites
  2. Compare results of aerial reconnaissance with geophysical techniques
  3. Discover new components that may lie hidden beneath other fields adjacent to the cropmark sites
  4. Recover and map datable material – artefacts – which may be present on the surface of the ploughsoil

Geophysical Surveying and Fieldwalking

Geophysical Surveying

Geophysical Surveying

Geophysical Surveying

Geophysical Survey Results from Damerham

Geophysical survey will focus not just on the areas of cropmarks but also to the areas between and around them in order to seek traces of past activity not visible from the air. Fieldwalking – systematic collection of artefacts from the surface of the ploughed fields – will not only indicate the type and date of activities undertaken in these fields thousands of years, but also point to locations of activity invisible to both aerial photography and geophysics. When combined, the results of all these different methods will not just give us a clearer idea of what was happening around Damerham in the distant past, but will also allow us to examine the relative value of the different techniques for understanding archaeological remains on arable chalklands. The results will also allow us to decide where best to target any future programme of excavation.