Heatwave Reveals Lost Archaeological Sites Across Britain

Jane Werrell
By Jane Werrell
August 15, 2018World News
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As the sweltering heat in 2018 scorched fields across Britain, hundreds of ancient landmarks have been revealed.

Surveys from the sky show details of long-forgotten settlements, ancient monuments, and burial mounds which are usually hidden by lush grass.

Among the several hundred new finds are two Neolithic cursus monuments from over 5,000 years ago in Milton Keynes. The monument, near Clifton Reynes, dates from 3600 and 3000 BC, and is one of the oldest of its kind in the country.

The monuments are thought to be enclosed paths or processional ways, but their actual function remains a mystery.

Traces of settlements dating from the Iron Age were spotted in Cornwall, while in Staffordshire, archaeologists found outlines of an Elizabethan hall and its proposed replacement. Circular features of a ceremonial landscape in Oxfordshire that have not been visible for years have now been exposed.

Differences in color or the height of the crops helps determine the layouts of the settlements.

Historic England said the heatwave “provided the perfect conditions” for the ancient discoveries.

Outlines of Tixall Hall in Staffordshire which was built in 1555. The lighter lines in the center are the proposed replacement that was begun during the First World War. The building on the left is a Grade I Listed gatehouse built in 1557, during the reign of Elizabeth I. (Emma Trevarthen/Historic England)
Outlines of Tixall Hall in Staffordshire which was built in 1555. The lighter lines in the center are the proposed replacement that was begun during the First World War. The building on the left is a Grade I Listed gatehouse built in 1557, during the reign of Elizabeth I. (Emma Trevarthen/Historic England)
The remains of a complicated structure of a Bronze Age burial mound or barrow in Scropton, Derbyshire. (Emma Trevarthen/Historic England)
The remains of a complicated structure of a Bronze Age burial mound or barrow in Scropton, Derbyshire. (Emma Trevarthen/Historic England)

According to Helen Winton, Historic England Aerial Investigation and Mapping Manager, this year is looking to be the best for discoveries since 2011, when over 1,500 sites were revealed.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said, “This spell of very hot weather has provided the perfect conditions for our aerial archaeologists to ‘see beneath the soil’ as cropmarks are much better defined when the soil has less moisture.

“The discovery of ancient farms, settlements and Neolithic cursus monuments is exciting.”

Two Neolithic cursus monuments near Clifton Reynes, Milton Keynes, dating from between 3600 and 3000 BC. (Damian Grady/Historic England)
Two Neolithic cursus monuments near Clifton Reynes, Milton Keynes, dating from between 3600 and 3000BC. (Damian Grady/Historic England)

Damian Grady, Historic England Aerial Reconnaissance Manager said, “This has been one of my busiest summers in 20 years of flying and it is has been very rewarding making discoveries in areas that do not normally reveal cropmarks.”

Similar sights from the past were found in Wales this summer, where crop marks of Bronze Age barrows and prehistoric settlements emerged across the Llyn Peninsula.

Historic Environment Scotland also documented sites that have not been visible for many years, including Iron Age souterrains in the Borders and a Roman temporary camp.

The significant finds by Historic England include:
-Two Neolithic cursus monuments near Clifton Reynes, Milton Keynes
-Iron Age Round, St Ive, Cornwall
-Prehistoric settlement, Lansallos, Cornwall
-Iron Age square barrows, Pocklington, Yorkshire
-Bronze Age burial mound and prehistoric pit alignment, Scropton, Derbyshire
-Prehistoric settlement or cemetery, Stoke by Clare, Suffolk
-Roman farm, Bicton, Devon
-Prehistoric farms, Stogumber, Somerset
-Prehistoric enclosure, Churchstanton, Somerset
-Tixall Hall, Staffordshire
-Prehistoric ceremonial landscape near Eynsham, Oxfordshire

From The Epoch Times

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