Characterising the Landscape: Discoveries
The prime focus of this project has been towards gathering base data that underpins the development of sustainable and predictive approaches to managing the landscape and its archaeology. It has been an immense undertaking and has lead us to a point where we are forced to be, not only the observers but also the guardians of what is now the most detailed picture, at a large scale, of a past landscape in Britain and probably the world.
Archaeology is exciting because it involves discovery, seeing the results of this survey coupled with its partner project in the adjoining land-block to the east emerge over the last two and a half years has been has been remarkable. All our ideas about settlement and population density and the development of the landscape have had to be constantly revised; although we are aware that the geophysical survey results present only a partial, and to some degree, a chronologically constrained, picture the sheer scale of activity has constantly taken us by surprise. Had the results not been so spectacular it is unlikely that the field team would have survived the eternity of walking hundreds of kilometres and augering hundreds of holes into rock hard sand.
The mapping outputs of the project will have a profound effect on the future of this landscape and its development; however they remain for the most part maps like a skeleton without the flesh. There is clearly a need for targeted excavation to add chronological, political and social depth on the one hand and test for the more elusive earlier prehistoric evidence in the open spaces between the dense clusters of activity. This will however need to be an even larger project running over many years. The detailed evidence recovered from every field is fully documented in the Landkeepers Dossiers accessible through the interactive maps. This space is included to show two examples of discrete discoveries which represent either new classes of feature or major new discoveries.