Oxford Archaeology and Magnitude Survey are currently undertaking a geophysical survey of the field (off Heath Road) proposed for the bore holes. This survey uses “non-intrusive” methods, a magnetometry hand-cart is pulled across the field, sending signals into the earth, which reflect up from the geology, producing a greyscale image of what is buried below the topsoil.
Magnetometry is the technique of measuring and mapping patterns of magnetism in the soil. Ancient activity, such as burning, leaves magnetic traces that show up even today. The end result is a greyscale map of the geology below the topsoil, with archaeology visible as dark ‘anomalies’.
Archaeological work forms part of the planning process and has been in place since 1991. The County Council employs archaeological advisors, who identify which planning applications will require archaeological evaluation prior to any planning permission being granted. This is the first phase of archaeological evaluation work for Heating Swaffham Prior. Following the results of this, there will potentially be an ‘intrusive evaluation’, with small trenches dug through the topsoil to the top of the geology. This is where any archaeology, such as pits, postholes or ditches will be visible as darker patches within the geology.
We will keep you informed of any discoveries from the site over the next few weeks!