Basing House Survey Final Day – A rain check and some reflections
The second week of survey at Basing House finished on Friday in a spray of mud and rain, hailstones and inky cloud. What had promised to be a reasonable day quickly became unworkable, wet and cold. The teams set out for the final day of survey, focusing on completion of the magnetometry and resistivity in the area of the New House and outer bailey, and GPR over the outer bailey also. We abandoned the magnetic susceptibility to ensure that all hands were working on the res and mag. The rain set in and the GPR survey was the first to suffer, with the notebooks turning to mush.
The magnetometry continued, mopping up grids on the Civil War earthworks, and finishing the survey of the New House and outer bailey. Resistivity was completed in the Old House and the New House, although the team had suspicions that the wet weather would affect the results.
By midday the decision was made to start leaving the field. The resistance survey was completed and kit brought in. After lunch, and a cake-fest organised by Nicole and Gareth, the last grids of magnetometry and GPR profiles were finished, and the team started cleaning up kit and packing the van. The dark brooding skies did not change, and the bothy was locked up and all was finished by 3pm. The team headed back to Southampton for the routine of data download and meshing.
Data download revealed that the results from the resistivity were okay. The rain had affected them slightly, but some data processing should be able to deal with this. The line of the defences for the courtyard of the New House stand out spectacularly in thr results, together with features adjacent on the outer bailey. The downside is that the team did not quite complete all of the areas. The high resolution of the resistance survey at 0.5m by 0.5m travers and reading interval, meant that the work was slow. Similarly the magnetometer survey didn’t quite get started across the fence on the common. There is however plenty of scope to follow this survey up with more work in the summer alongside the excavation basinghousecat.wordpress.com.
In summary the two weeks have survey have been a success. Training apart, the team have produced a detailed topographic survey of the site, and combined resistance, magnetometer and GPR survey has been conducted within the scheduled area, providing a clear plan of the structural remains across the Old and New House, and the bailey and outer defences of the site. The students will now be using the results as part of their final assignments, and the results will go forward to help with new interpretations of the nature and extent of the earthworks and archaeological features at the site.