Friday, 25 September 2009

Bulletin 32 (September 2009)

Sedgefield Aerodrome Course Report

Well, the first season investigating Sedgeford aerodrome was a resounding success. We had nine very enthusiastic students who, together with three supervisors, spent time doing desktop research and three days practical work up at the Aerodrome. Once suitable work locations had been agreed with the landowner we split the students into three teams, each with their own project to work on.

Team A investigated a building that, according to local hearsay, was used as a mortuary during WWI, one is recorded in the post-war sale of site buildings. They spent some time studying the construction methods, materials, and design of the building, before moving on to create a drawn record of all four external elevations and a plan. The structure, which is located in an area that was woodland during WWI, has elements of architectural design that gives it a chapel-like quality. These, along with some of the more utilitarian aspects of its design, such as high windows and air vents, led the team to conclude that it was the mortuary.

Team B spent most of its fieldwork time investigating a rubbish dump area. A large assemblage of material culture was collected from the trench, mostly found within the topsoil, and included glass bottles and jars, pieces of domestic china, leather boots, a couple of rubber bicycle pedals and a single .303 blank cartridge case (dated to WWI). Initial research undertaken on a small selection of items by the team during their course show that the artefacts span at least a 40 year period. However, the finds were jumbled up together within the area investigated which led the team to conclude that it was not a purpose made dump, but instead a result of continual activity, in particular site clearance and re-use post WWII.

Team C studied an air raid shelter believed to date from the First World War. Constructed of house bricks, it has an internal corrugated iron ceiling overlaid with a thick slap of concrete. A wooden door at the bottom of the steps leads into the one-room shelter, which has brick piers for wooden benches along both walls. A window, crudely hacked out of the south wall, was cut through at a later date, possibly when the shelter was used as a store. Just above ground level a brick capping layer, around the stairwell, suggests that the brick courses above this were a later addition to the structure. A wooden door post at the entrance to the stairwell tells us an outer door was added at the same time. When and for what purpose these later alterations were made is still a mystery. Were they made during its time as a military installation or are they associated with the site’s later life?

The week was finished off with Dave and Angie Hibbitt running a workshop on geophysics, whilst two local detectorists provided the students with an opportunity to try out the technique for themselves. An afternoon presentation on their findings to a group of SHARP volunteers and interested locals rounded off the course for the students.        Anna Gow

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Bulletin 31 (September 2009)

The First Tank Project Update

A Geophysical Survey was carried out in Lincoln recently as part of the First Tank Project, in conjunction with the Friends of the Lincoln Tank.

Lincoln, along with over 250 other towns and cities around the country had received a Presentation Tank after the Great War, in recognition of monies raised for National Savings.   After due ceremony, that tank was sited in Wickham Gardens, next to the Water Tower, and there it remained until it was removed for scrap several years later.  Incredible as it may seem, it has not been possible to locate any photographs of the tank in situ, and only recently has it been confirmed that the tank was displayed on the south side of the tower, in a small garden area.

It was decided, therefore to carry out an earth resistance survey to try and ascertain if would be possible to find any evidence of a plinth or railings under the garden.
The survey was duly carried out on 12 September by Dave and Angie Hibbitt, (Grid Nine Geophysics) closely watched by members of the Friends of the Lincoln Tank.
Following interpretation of the results, a full report will be available.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Bulletin 30 (September 2009)

Conflict Archaeology News

Many of you may already be in possession of the latest edition of Current Archaeology - for those that haven't been able to cast their eyes over it - our very own Dr Nick Saunders is featured - launching the new discipline of modern conflict archaeology. Don't forget that details of his new MA in 20th Century Conflict can be found at www. or

Also, another of our number, Jim Lewis has 2 more books in the Lea Valley series released at the end of September , making a total of five.

And finally.........for any of you that are, or could be in the vicinity of Lincoln tomorrow evening, there are still just a few tickets left for Andrew Robertshaw's talk on 'Digging the Trenches'

Kind regards to you all

Angie Hibbitt
Great War Archaeology Group