Guest Blog: Clare Allen – The Defensive Role of Basing House and its Environs

Clare Allen

Clare Allen

Student Basingstoke Common Survey Project

We’re very happy to share the details of another fantastic project that will be happening at the same time as our dig.

Postgraduate student, Clare Allen, will be working at Basing House for the duration of the excavation, to investigate the surrounding landscape of the Civil War period of the site. Clare has written a guest blog post below about her plans.

Look out for Clare on Basingstoke Common when you come to visit us at the excavation!

Introducing Clare

My name is Clare and I’m a Masters student from the University of Southampton. I am carrying out my MSc in Archaeological Survey and Landscape. Consequently, this has led me to become interested in the application of geophysical survey techniques and how they can aid our archaeological and historical understanding of complex sites  such as Basing House.

Project Description

The purpose of my thesis is to understand the defensive role of Basing House through the application of Geophysics on Basingstoke Common. The main aims are to gain a greater understanding of the site within the broader landscape by examining the defensive features in the immediate area surrounding the grounds (Basingstoke Common).

It has been suggested that Basing House was ‘the scene of one of the most stirring acts of defiance that the country of Hampshire has ever known’ (Allen et al, 1999: vi).

Due to its defensive structures and location it was able to withstand defeat for three years, undergoing countless attacks.

Methodology

Through the use of magnetometry and potentially resistivity, I hope to discover some magnetic anomalies that will aid our understanding of Basing House and the defensive role it has played throughout its existence. The site will be divided into 30m by 30m grids expanding southwards down the common.

Once the gridding is complete the following geophysical techniques and methods implemented:

  1. Magnetometry survey using two Bartington Instrument, Grad 601 dual sensor fluxgate gradiometers. The magnetometry survey will be carried out at 0.25m intervals along traverses spaced 0.5m apart.
  2. Resistance survey will hopefully be undertaken using a Geoscan Research RM15 resistance meter, to 0.1 Ohm. Readings will be taken at 0.5m intervals along traverses spaced 0.5m apart in order to gain a higher resolution of results. If time allows it will be useful to get some grids covered with the resistance meter. On the areas that are showing magnetic anomalies, it would be useful to use the two techniques in conjunction with each other to build a greater comprehension of the site.
Figure 1: Shows the fluxgate gradiometer being used during the spring survey season by the University of Southampton.

Figure 1: Shows the fluxgate gradiometer being used during the spring survey season by the University of Southampton.

Once the data has been collected and processed I will be able to generate a series of digitised overlays in order to interpret the features that are appearing. In conjunction with the excavation season taking place from 22nd July – 11th August, more interesting information about the history Basing House should emerge.

Figure 2: Planned survey area [Area A indicating the first area to be surveyed, which will extend westwards into survey area B].

Figure 2: Planned survey area [Area A indicating the first area to be surveyed, which will extend westwards into survey area B].

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