Geophysics for Beginners, with DigVentures

  • 07/07/2021
  • 6pm-7.30pm
  • Online (via Zoom)
How do archaeologists see what’s underground? In this event, you’ll search for buried remains near the ancient monument at Legs Cross
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Archaeology Geophysics for Beginners – How do archaeologists see what’s underground? In this event, you’ll search for buried remains near the ancient monument at Legs Cross!

About this Event

Archaeology Geophysics for Beginners – Geophysics is the art (and science!) of ‘seeing’ below the ground, without digging a hole. It is widely used in archaeology, and most archaeology fans will be familiar with the sight of someone walking across a field with a machine that goes ‘beep!’, and the blurry black and white maps that these geophysical surveys produce.

But how do archaeologists interpret these maps? What do they mean? And how do you use them to identify ancient remains?

In this event, you’ll learn how archaeological geophysics works, its benefits and limitations, and most importantly… how to interpret the results. How many features can you identify? And could they really be ancient remains? In this event, we’ll walk you step-by-step through the process so that you can have a go at interpreting a real set of results from the surroundings of a very ancient monument we’ve been working on.

What you’ll learn

• Why archaeologists sometimes drop their trowels and do geophysics

• How the most common techniques work and how to choose the right one

• What we’ve done in the field around Legs Cross (with a video from the archaeologists on site)

• How to interpret the results of a magnetometer survey

• A chance to follow along and see what you can identify from a real set of results!

The site

Legs Cross is an ancient monument right in the middle of a rich early medieval landscape near Roman Dere Street. It’s one of many crossed or standing stones erected in the 8-10th centuries AD, which are mainly found in northern England. These stones are thought to have had a variety of functions, from place markers to meeting points to gravestones. Such variety raises questions about what Legs Cross might have really been used for… and geophysics is the perfect technique to help us find out!

By locating archaeological features buried below the fields surrounding the monument, we might glean some new clues to help us understand what was happening around it.

In January, in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic, only a small team was allowed on the site to conduct a geofizz survey. But now we’re bringing the survey to you – it’s your turn to take a look, and help us interpret the data to reveal the bigger picture of what was happening at Legs Cross Bolam.

FAQ

Where is this event happening?

This event is happening via Zoom. Once you register, we’ll email you a Zoom link before the event begins.

Do I need any previous experience?

No, absolutely not! Everyone is welcome to join, and we’ll show you everything you need to know, and walk you step-by-step through the process of interpreting geophysics results so that you can try it yourself.

Do I need to bring anything?

No, you’ll be able to follow along with everything online. If you have a printer, you’ll be able to print off the survey map we send you and mark your observations on paper. If you don’t have a printer, we’ll show you how to mark your observations on screen!

More about your hosts

This event is being organised by DigVentures, and will be hosted by our team of community archaeologists, including Ginny, Kim, and Raphael. Ginny is a DigVentures Community Archaeology, Kim is DigVentures resident geophysics expert, and Raphael is a geoarchaeologist currently doing a PhD at Durham Uni.

Together, we’re on a mission to share archaeology with the world and help make your dream of becoming an archaeologist come true! You can find out how to join DigVentures on a real-life excavation here.

More about this event

Archaeology Geophysics for Beginners – This event is part of an ongoing project that aims to revitalise life along the River Skerne. It’s supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the events which focus on the region’s historic environment are the initiative of Durham County Council’s Archaeology Section.

As part of the project, DigVentures is organising events and public participation around five archaeological sites including Legs Cross Bolam, East Park, Catskill Lane, and more. You can find out more here.

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