Part of our work involves looking beyond the sites themselves. This work, classed under the broad title of “survey”, allows us not just to locate new sites to excavate in future seasons, but also to helps to put those sites in context. Our survey takes five different forms. We use walkover survey to identify sites visible above ground. This is a really easy way of spotting archaeology in the landscape and helped us to identify the Viking boat burial site, for example. We also use geophysical survey, which helps us look beneath the ground without having to excavate, and helped us find the possible Bronze Age enclosure. Test pitting, another form of survey, is the systematic excavation of small areas (usually no more than 1m wide) to look for archaeology that does not show up either in an above ground survey or in geophysics. This will be very helpful when looking for older prehistoric occupation which might only survive as a scatter of artefacts. When we find sites that we are interested in we also conduct topographic surveys, which allow us to closely record the changing heights of the ground, and look for features we might otherwise have missed. Finally we are also conducting environmental surveys using augurs to take samples from the earth to examine how the environment has changed through time. Much of this work is ongoing and it will all provide essential context for our more formal excavations.

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