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Progress Report, August 2012

The initial task in this period was to compare features on the ridge of Nine Standards with up-to-date geological maps; is the ‘mound’ around the summit due to lithology or archaeology? The Swindon aerial photo archive of English Heritage was visited and 20 relevant images were found and examined; ultra-high resolution scans of the best stereo pairs were ordered. Anaglyphs (3D prints) were produced and compared with low level airphotos. The stereo pairs were also used to generate a site model with contours at 1m intervals, and the geological map was ‘draped’ over the model, see below:

Crown Copyright Reserved: Steve Drury OU

The ‘mound’ intersects lithological boundaries on the west side at an angle of around 30o so it is likely to be man-made. On site, several small quadrilateral enclosures were tentatively identified, but the proposed hexacopter survey for large scale mapping required flat calm weather which never came. Eventually, an experimental helium balloon with kite was used instead, but wind shake of the suspended digital camera meant that only 150 of the 290 photos taken were sharp enough to generate a fly-around model with oblique illumination. This allows the ridge to be examined in detail from any angle. Oxford Archaeology North were commissioned to do this work. See image below view from East:

In parallel, a detailed gradiometer (geomagnetic) site survey yielded very smooth data: it identified no major cut features in the surface layer, a broad scatter of ferrous materials mostly in or near pits and trenches, and numerous soft-filled curvilinear features mostly in the centre and north, possibly crevices in the superficial post-glacial crushed flagstone debris and bedrock that creates major problems for geophysical methods, see the images below. Magnetometry cannot reliably locate subsurface cavities at depth, but has the great advantage that it does not require surface contact, and was recommended as likely to be the most useful first step. Archaeological Services Durham University did this work.

The next step will be to look at a more limited area but to a greater depth using ground penetrating radar. Access, weather, surface debris and man's activities make this a very disturbed and challenging site, but the archaeology is beginning to emerge. Reports from the archaeological teams are due to be completed soon.

For the second report of work completed in the autumn see: December 2012


We already have quite a few friends who are helping with the project but more needed - please see the friends page for more information about becoming a friend or helping with the project.

To see copies of the original documents mentioned on the History page, see the documents page.

To read an exploration of the linguistic background of Nine Standards, see the what's in a name page.

There are quite a few old maps which mention Nine Standards and these can be found on the mapspage.

Nine Standards is a wonderfully photogenic place from any angle and we have added photographs to many of the pages of this website.


    Copyright © Friends of Nine Standards, 2011