Geophysics Training, West Stow

four people walking with magnetometer

Featured image: volunteers being trained how to conduct a survey using a hand-held bartington fluxgate gradiometer

Volunteers were trained to undertake a geophysical survey to investigate archaeology in the Lark Valley, as part of the Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers Landscape Partnership project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund

In October, a geophysical survey was carried out in the areas around the well-known Anglo-Saxon settlement at West Stow. We already know a lot about the Anglo-Saxon settlement, which was first excavated by Stanley West in 1965-72, however, less archaeological investigation has been done in the areas around it. The aim of the survey was to put the settlement into its landscape context and to fill in the blanks to try to identify the full extent of the settlement and any other archaeological features.

Twelve volunteers were trained in a magnetic geophysical survey; they learnt how to use a magnetometer with a cart and a hand-held bartington fluxgate gradiometer. The training was delivered by Phase Site Investigations and coordinated by Cotswold Archaeology.

Geophysical survey is a non-intrusive technique used to “see a picture beneath the soil” without disturbing the ground and is a useful method for covering large areas. Magnetometry survey records changes in the magnetic field across a site and can detect possible archaeological features based on the magnetic response.

The results are now being analysed by the experts from Phase Site Investigations who will compile a report with the findings in 2022 – so keep an eye out for updates.

The Archaeological Service are grateful to the volunteers for their hard work and to the landowners for their invaluable support.

We will be back out in the field next year to conduct more geophysical survey as well as fieldwalking. If you are interested in volunteering, keep an eye out for updates or subscribe to our “Archaeology News in Suffolk” e-newsletter.

This fieldwork is part of the Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers Landscape Partnership, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We are very grateful to our partners who have made this project possible, and for the support of the landowners and farmers who work and manage this historic landscape.

Find out more

Learn more about why we are investigating the Lark Valley

Learn more about West Stow in our recent blog post

Explore the publications about the archaeological work at West Stow

Learn more about West Stow in our recent blog post

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