|An extensive geophysical
survey was undertaken by Timescape Surveys across the entire field
containing the Howick site. This work was commissioned by the Howick Project and concerned the
fields immediately surrounding the Mesolithic site which was identified
from exploratory work conducted during 2000. The application of
geophysical survey techniques for the identification of Mesolithic
features is an untested method in the British Isles, but has great
potential and significant implications for future investigations of such
The survey was initiated to see whether the Mesolithic hut could be detected and whether other features could be identified that may be associated with it. The survey successfully delimited the hut as a significant anomaly and other features were also identified. On excavation these features turned out to be a linear burning pit and the cist cemetery.
evidence of possible biochemical and bacterial modification to the
landscape was detected, particularly in the northern sector of the survey
area, where conditions were more aerobic. The effects of landslip and
erosion at the eastern edge of the survey area may have resulted in the
creation of some anomalous features, as have the effects of mole activity
and the burial of sheep. The overall effects of the moles and sheep
burials on the geophysical survey results are unresolved.
A large number of bipolar and positive anomalies were detected, spread almost uniformly across the entire survey area. Many of these were shown to be erratics lodged in the boulder clay. Ferrous and ceramic debris will cause some of the responses, whereas other may represent genuine pits. To the left is a geophysical survey map; please click on it to see a larger and clearer image displayed in a separate window.
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