Geophysics in Grantham

Working in geophysics, every day is a gamble.  Some days you spend all your time recording, only to discover that you have no features.  Other days and it feels like you hit the jackpot.

Fortunately for our geophysicist Sean, he has recently been very lucky week indeed.  Due to the long hot summer of 2018, last year was one of the best for seeing parch marks.  These are seen as shapes of differently coloured grass, often best seen from a height.  They indicate areas of shallower soil, often overlying wall foundations, ditches or other archaeological features.

St Peter's Hill, Grantham

Members of the Grantham Civic Society noticed parch marks in St Peter’s Hill, Grantham.  As such they obtained a grant from the SKDC Community Fund, and asked us to help them conduct a geophysics survey over the area, to create a more detailed picture of what was beneath the soil.

Using a resistivity survey, which measures the moisture levels of soil by timing the speed an electric current between two points, we were able to identify areas that suggest some sort of stone structure lay beneath the lawns.

The results that came back were fascinating.  There was a large number of positive features that showed on the recordings, suggesting that there may be demolished buildings in the area.  Even before starting, we knew that the area was one of interest.  Indeed, St Peter's Hill has often been connected to the site of St Peter’s Chapel and the Eleanor Cross.  The Eleanor Cross was one of a number of crosses which marked where the body of Queen Eleanor, wife of Edward 1st, lay on her journey to be buried in London.  These results certainly seem to support this, suggesting some very strong possible sites!

Even better was that this was a project that was devised, funded and conducted by the Grantham Civic Society.  While we were honoured to help, it was fantastic to see volunteers getting engaged and having fun with their local archaeology.  We certainly hope to continue supporting the group as their investigations continue!

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