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Progress Report, September 2013

The long winter 2012/13 gave time for reflection over the remaining tasks for the current phase of the research at Nine Standards, and for several long and detailed visits to the site. We were fortunate enough to secure additional funding from two of our supporters so we could commission further geophysical survey work. A combination of ground penetrating radar and electromagnetic conductivity was agreed, and the fieldwork was carried out on 2 August 2013. With the results of the magnetometry completed last year, it was felt that deploying two further non-intrusive methods would give the best chance of finding any significant archaeology around the Nine Standards.
A mid-frequency GPR antenna of 400MHz was used to achieve a penetration depth of 2 to 3m, supplemented with an electromagnetic conductivity meter taking readings of successive layers down to a depth of some 1.5 to 2m. This combination was designed to secure complimentary information while using equipment appropriate for the site and access conditions. Deeper penetration depths would have required heavy and bulky instruments, site access by a 4WD vehicle, additional specialist staff and higher costs.
GPR data were observed along 16 transects, with a total length of 1094m; 10 transects of 609m in total ran roughly east-west across the ridge, the rest ran north-south along the ridge. At time of writing, topographic corrections to the GPR are still underway, caused in part by poor phone connections at the site, but in general they show very disturbed reflections across the stony ridge occupied by the cairns, indicating a very void-rich or mixed material unlike virgin bedrock, with elsewhere much more uniform material over bedrock. The final detailed interpretation of each transect is still awaited.

The electromagnetic data were observed along survey lines 2m apart over a 30m x 90m block orientated NNE to SSW along the ridge. There are large high conductivity anomalies in one major and several minor areas some 15 to 25m east of the cairns; these are of uncertain origin but may be excavated features in the bedrock that have been infilled with higher conductivity peat deposits or other material. There is also a low conductivity anomaly running parallel to the cairns on the east side some 2m wide and perhaps 20 to 25m long, which suggests some sort of void in this location. These features are present throughout each of the different depth dependent datasets. Again, this preliminary interpretation will be refined and expanded in the final report. However, it is already clear that both techniques have produced significant and worthwhile results.





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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.

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