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  • Nancy Detchon

Buxton Community School Surveys the Site

On Thursday 17th March,  11 pupils from Buxton Community School travelled to Under Whitle to take part in our survey.

After arriving, they walked down a track that has been a route-way for hundreds of years and, on entering a field, were asked to see if they could see an archaeological feature. To our surprise one young man could.

Now, we were surprised not because we didn’t expect a bunch of teenagers to be able to see an archaeological feature in a field, but because no-one (and I mean no-one, not even Paul and Elspeth who had been walking through this field on pretty much a daily basis for the past 30  years) had ever noticed it!  This was until we received the lidar data.

Lidar image showing previously unknown archaeological feature, north of centre abutting the edge of the curving track

Lidar image showing previously unknown archaeological feature, north of centre abutting the edge of the curving track (courtesy of Dr Steve Malone, Trent and Peak Archaeology 2016)


This particularly observant young man was quickly named ‘The Human Lidar’ and quite rightly so.

After, this promising start, the group were told the basics of the techniques and skills they would be using and developing during the day and had a chance to look at an 1842 tithe map of the area and handle some of the objects that have been found on the farm over the years.

They then went to work: they joined Ian in the ‘cellar field’ to learn about tape and offset survey and understand the difficulties of doing one a sloping field!; they joined Tom and Tina undertaking resistivity on areas of the field that had showed interesting results during the previous magnetometry survey; and they drew measurements on a sketch plan to scale.

They also had a chance to play our increasingly famous ‘Tudor Call-My-Bluff’ game and added more to our textured map following in the footsteps of Tommy More’s pupils who visited the project a couple of days before. Some of the BCS group also had the chance to undertake the ‘Peeling Back the Layers Archaeology Challenge’ where they had to match descriptions taken from Jim Rylatt’s earlier archaeological survey with features on the ground.

Just take a look at the photos to see what fun they had!

And here’s some of their comments on the day:

“I have had a great day here at peeling back the layers. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences with archaeology today. My favourite person was Margaret” (you can read all about Margaret here!)

“It has been very interesting today at Peeling back the Layers. I have learnt a lot of new things during each activity and all the staff/volunteers were very helpful and easy to get along with. I would definitely recommend this place to people who are interested in history!”

“Peeling Back the Layers was very enjoyable. I learnt lots of facts. Good fun”

“Developed my history skills, fun exciting day. nice people/volunteers, friendly environment”

And last but not least:

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