Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Thornborough "debate"
#31
At the risk of looking for a positive angle on this thread.

It is interesting to see just how complicated archaeology has become now, with judgment calls and methedologies that are no longer fully transparent to the 'non archaeological' observer. Is this a failing in archaeologists or the system they inhabit?

The Thornbourough 'debate' is really on two levels..
1) should a monument such as this and the landscape it inhabits be under the threat of total quarrying (though I would be 99.9% sure the Henges will never be subject to this) without full record. As the areas which are requested for quarrying will be 100% removed it could be argued that we must recover 100% archaeology. (and we can't forget that this phase of archaeological investigation is due to pressure and refusal of application in the first place - correct me if I am wrong here)
2) the ability of archaeological organisations to interpret the same data in differnt ways and also be unable to explain clearly to the public why they are doing something like that. FOr example..... artefact retrieval from topsoil... (often this is argued by detectorists - and rightly so in my opinion - that why oh why if they detect artefacts from the topsoil and archaeologists never look at it anyway... they get so bothered about detectorists who detect the topsoil.) Has anyone thought to explain... I would love to hear myself.... why topsoil artefacts are not recovered... or why we don't use handtools but JCBs... and how that is just as good. I sure we could explain it... but has anyone actually done it before.?? A new BAJR guide could be useful...

perhaps called...." But I thought you used toothbrushes..." )

So... a) any takers to write a guide to modern archaeology practices?
and b) It may be a well dug site... buts let not forget the end purpose... to clear the way for Tarmac to quarry next to the Thornborough Henges..



Another day another WSI?
#32
Quote:quote:Originally posted by BAJR Host
It is interesting to see just how complicated archaeology has become now, with judgement calls and methodologies that are no longer fully transparent to the 'non archaeological' observer. Is this a failing in archaeologists or the system they inhabit?

Probably a bit of both, if it is a problem. Maybe the summaries could be more easily understood, but it is difficult to understand what non-professionals can grasp when it has been so long since many of us have been in that position.

Quote:quote:The Thornbourough 'debate' is really on two levels..
1) should a monument such as this and the landscape it inhabits be under the threat of total quarrying (though I would be 99.9% sure the Henges will never be subject to this) without full record. As the areas which are requested for quarrying will be 100% removed it could be argued that we must recover 100% archaeology. (and we can't forget that this phase of archaeological investigation is due to pressure and refusal of application in the first place - correct me if I am wrong here)

But surely the groundworks associated with most modern industrial uses also obliterate 100% of the archaeology (at least if it's less than 2m down), and I doubt most of us curators would get 100% samples on those sites. Also would a 100% sample tell you anything more?
On another point, surely the long term watching brief applied to the Nosterfield Quarry would recover samples of most of the archaeology, and there will probably be a similar programme for this area.


Quote:quote: 2) the ability of archaeological organisations to interpret the same data in different ways and also be unable to explain clearly to the public why they are doing something like that. For example..... artefact retrieval from topsoil... (often this is argued by detectorists - and rightly so in my opinion - that why oh why if they detect artefacts from the topsoil and archaeologists never look at it anyway... they get so bothered about detectorists who detect the topsoil.) Has anyone thought to explain... I would love to hear myself.... why topsoil artefacts are not recovered... or why we don't use handtools but JCBs... and how that is just as good.

Personally I don't mind detectorists detecting in the topsoil, what I do mind is the fact that almost none of the PA finds in my area have grid references, making them next to useless. With a grid reference, even 6 figure, we could make more accurate settlement maps. Several of my Parishes have over 50 finds; did they come from the same field? in which case which field? Sorry should leave this for another thread.
Topsoil artefacts are rarely recorded as they cannot be guaranteed to have come from the underlying deposits.
Mechanical diggers are used so that we don't spend half the time stripping topsoil for relatively little gain (see above statement).
etc etc etc.

Quote:quote: I sure we could explain it... but has anyone actually done it before.?? A new BAJR guide could be useful...

perhaps called...." But I thought you used toothbrushes..." )

So... a) any takers to write a guide to modern archaeology practices?
and b) It may be a well dug site... buts let not forget the end purpose... to clear the way for Tarmac to quarry next to the Thornborough Henges..

I would be willing to contribute, but don't think for a second that I could write the whole thing.
It is a shame that these areas are being quarried, but it gives a chance to excavate and understand a previously unknown archaeological landscape that would otherwise be slowly destroyed by ploughing, without us even realising.

BTW I'm not trying to be argumentative, and I'm probably wrong on a few points Big Grin
#33
I have opened a new thread.... I think we need to establish what teh main questions are... It would be good for ourselves as archaeologists to look at what we do... and think about what perceptions might be if viewed from outside.

New topic called... But I thought you used toothbrushes?!

Another day another WSI?
#34
Hi all,

Sorry to come late to the party.


As someone who is involved, I may be too close to see the wood. However, the choices for Thornborough seem to boil down to three options:

a)Preservation by record - The application of some sort of mitigation strategy to Tarmac's planning consent (Warching brief, recording brief or open area excavation - a mixture of the latter two might be appropriate). The work paid for by Tarmac. Peanuts to them.

b) Preservation in situ - Tarmac's application is turned down and the land remains in cultivation. However, as has been shown by the green glass experiment recently conducted on site (http://www.archaeologicalplanningconsult...lough.html), plough damage will continue to destroy the archaeology.

c) The scheduling of the entire landscape around the henges. The Department for Culture Media and Sport do not like to schedule areas, nor is it likely that they would in this case. If they do, it sets a whopping precedent and will cost huge sums to compensate the farmers. Paid for by taxpayers.

Since c) is unlikely to say the least, and b) will only ensure thatn the archaeology is destroyed without being recorded, surely a) is the only option if you consider archaeology to be of value?

"So does your partner have a real job?" Asked of me by an interviewer for a supervisor post at a well known unit not that many years ago...
#35
Quote:quote:Originally posted by Real Job


the choices for Thornborough seem to boil down to three options:

a)Preservation by record - The work paid for by Tarmac. Peanuts to them.

b) Preservation in situ - Tarmac's application is turned down and the land remains in cultivation.

c) The scheduling of the entire landscape around the henges.

Since c) is unlikely to say the least, and b) will only ensure thatn the archaeology is destroyed without being recorded, surely a) is the only option if you consider archaeology to be of value?

Then there is the other option - Tourism, one of the fastest growing industries in this country and sustainable which is more than can be said for quarrying.
One of Tarmac's arguments has been that the area would not provide the same tax revenue without them. As a student of Tourism Management with a particular interest in heritage I say they are wrong.
Leave the archaeology in situ, put in place a management plan with the farmer and a very nice income for the county could be made from it - providing more jobs than the 10? that Tarmac provide of which none are local residents. Their use of the jobs of hauliers is a complete red herring as most would get their gravel from other local quarries (just not Tarmac, but that is business).
This is not just about Tarmac quarrying a site it is also about the use made of the area, what local people would like and some forward planning for a long term future for the area. If Tarmac have their way the place would be surrounded by water with no more than 25 years of management guaranteed and then a bill to pay by the taxpayer for the upkeep. Going by the Nosterfield Nature Reserve this is an expensive way forward for the county.
#36
Hi Real Job,

Can I ask a question? Regarding the seeding of the trench with glass balls, how is the subsoil re-compacted after the dig?

Save the Thornborough Henge Complex - http://www.timewatch.org
#37
Quote:quote:Leave the archaeology in situ, put in place a management plan with the farmer and a very nice income for the county could be made from it

Henges aside, it doesn't look like the kind of archaeology that will bring throngs of paying punters in. And it certainly won't when the ploughsoil covers it again.

As for the Henges, am I right in thinking that public access is limited? Probably no interpretive boards either I bet.

As archaeologists we like to think that the public is as interested as us in what we are digging. I now realize that usually it is us, and not the few holes in the ground, that the public comes to see on open days.

Tourism to Thornborough is probably a non-starter.
#38


Quote:quote:Can I ask a question? Regarding the seeding of the trench with glass balls, how is the subsoil re-compacted after the dig?

The 'subsoil' referred to in the paper about the green glass experiment actually means the natural gravel surface, i.e the surface into which negative archaeological features cut. Above this is ploughsoil. It can be confusing as sometimes archaeologists use the term 'subsoil' to instead refer to the B-horizon in some soil profiles (a geologist will probably tell you that we are incorrect to do that!).

Therefore the compaction of the 'subsoil' is not an issue. The green glass was placed in a 4cm deep cut in the subsoil to mimic a negative archaeological feature such as a pit. The 'artificial feature' was then re-covered by the ploughsoil that had previously been removed to expose the subsoil.

At the risk of repeating what is already written up in the paper,
the methodology of the green glass experiment was proposed by John Hinchcliffe of English Heritage (Acting Regional Director, who attends the site meetings every Friday) and was advised by Ian Panter the English Heritage science officer.

While it seems to me that the results of the experiment demonstrate quite clearly the damage caused by ploughing to archaeological features in the landscape around the henges (the astonishing and shocking results are limited to one ploughing episode - ploughing will continue to truncate the archaeology until it is gone. Not to mention the effects of the pan-busting that is often carried out in these fields), this is not the only evidence. The paper briefly refers in its introduction to several other pieces of evidence for the truncation of archaeological features in the vicinity of the henges.

Plough damage is - as is well known - a major threat to all archaeological features in farming landscapes. It is a problem to which EH don't seem to have a solution nationally, but in the specific case of Ladybridge farm it seems to rule out the preservation in situ of archaeological remains.




"So does your partner have a real job?" Asked of me by an interviewer for a supervisor post at a well known unit not that many years ago...
#39
I have no doubt that recent works in advance of the changes at Stonehenge will have thrown up some surprises for the archaeology community. The project probably involved a battery of approaches and I would put money on it, that the results will be stunning-I can`t wait. My point is this-the Thornborough Landscape is unique and, incorporates a complex landscape setting. I would argue that current invasive works could only ever hope to draw inferences.The landscape itself is the Henge complex.My betting is that complex archaeology covers the surrounding terrain.Ploughing or not.We`ve all excavated sites criss-crossed by plough-marks or field drains.And still produced some good archaeology in the process.I would vote that we should wait for the results of the Stonehenge work to be released.If the landscape around Stonehenge has`nt been shown to be a complex multi-period/phased environment-I`ll make a donation to the IFA!! Oh, please......Big Grin
#40
Quote:quote:Originally posted by mercenary
[br
Tourism to Thornborough is probably a non-starter.

But what does an archaeologist know about tourism? Where you see things in the archaeology that I probably wouldn't, I see things about tourism of which you probably would never dream.

When I go to look at a site it [u]is</u> the archaeology I want to see. Your role is to explain it to me if you have the time.Big Grin


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Researchers call for debate on underwater cultural heritage BAJR 2 711 1st December 2013, 07:58 PM
Last Post: kevin wooldridge
  IfA Minima Debate - THE RESULT BAJR 112 17,018 11th February 2013, 05:30 PM
Last Post: Unitof1
  DIGGERS CHARTER DEBATE BAJR 71 12,594 3rd October 2010, 07:09 PM
Last Post: deadlylampshade
  No srsly Commercial Archaeology Sucks The debate thread mididoctors 24 6,201 21st March 2010, 05:29 PM
Last Post: GnomeKing
  Thornborough Henge/Ladybridge excavations restart BAJR Host 1 380 6th December 2009, 08:21 PM
Last Post: BAJR Host
  Training at Uni debate BAJR Host 16 2,430 21st December 2008, 07:28 PM
Last Post: the invisible man
  PAS debate BAJR Host 3 809 7th March 2008, 09:42 PM
Last Post: BAJR Host
  Archaeology of the Thornborough Area website BAJR Host 7 1,801 9th December 2007, 02:09 PM
Last Post: freelance
  Help BAJR and the PAS at Thornborough BAJR Host 98 10,817 12th September 2006, 09:01 PM
Last Post: BAJR Host
  Urgent for Thornborough archae_logical 46 4,895 21st September 2005, 09:40 AM
Last Post: Venutius

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)