Parched English fields reveal ancient sites
LONDON | Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:59pm BST
From Roman forts to Neolithic settlements and military remains dating to World War Two, English Heritage has been busily photographing the exciting discoveries from the air.
Known as crop marks, the faint outlines of unseen buried structures emerged because of the length of the dry spell, leading the national conservator to label 2010 a vintage year for archaeology.
The outlines show up when crops grow at different rates over buried structures. Shallower soils tend to produce a stunted crop and are more prone to parching, bringing to light the new features.
"It's hard to remember a better year," said Dave MacLeod, a senior investigator with English Heritage.
"Crop marks are always at their best in dry weather, but the last few summers have been a disappointment," he said.
"This year we have taken full advantage of the conditions. We try to concentrate on areas that in an average year don't produce much archaeology."
One of this year's most important finds is a Roman camp in Dorset, southwest England. Experts say it is a relatively rare structure in that part of the country with only three others known of in the region.
The lightly built defensive enclosure, which emerged from parched barley fields, provided basic protection for Roman soldiers on manoeuvres in the first century AD.
In the Holderness area of the East Riding of Yorkshire, an area rich in agricultural land on the east coast, 60 new, mainly prehistoric sites, were found in just one day.
Archaeologists say at least 200 new historic sites have been discovered with detail on many more existing structures revealed for the first time.
At another Roman site for example, a fort at Newton Kyme in North Yorkshire, the crop marks showed stronger defensive walls built of stone three metres thick, together with a massive enclosing ditch.
English Heritage says some important structures have not been seen in their entirety since the scorching conditions of the 1976 drought.
(Writing by Stefano Ambrogi; Editing by Steve Addison)
***********************************************The article is interesting, to be sure. But the one comment after it I found equally fascinating. Is there anything to the "king portraits" the poster mentioned?
I am an amateur historian, not an academic, non degreed, simply a tourist with a hobby of satellite imagery.
The English and UK countrysides are saturated with layers and layers of antiquities, many revealed using satellite imagery.
For example, Google Earth which is a free software package not only is picking up entire underwater ancient human habitats on the bottom of the oceans (try 586 miles at 300 degrees from London), but also thousands of sub-surface images beneath the English countryside.
I am speculating that this is possible because of what I call “wet shadowing”, wherein a wet field of soil will show “black or dark” in satellite imagery, while submerged stone walls will wick away the water density and show as gray lines or somewhat different colored lines.
I have found images neighboring Stonehenge and the White Horse of Uffington. England’s history goes back to before the Atlantean era(for lack of a better time epoch description)giving its surrounding areas incredible time depths.
What makes it MOST valuable is that so much of the countryside has not been destroyed by soil churning wars and bulldozers.
The most common historical element noticable is the “King and/or Queen” portrait, when the royalty or tribal chief would die, it seems a rock wall would be built in the shape of the persons facial profile, facing West, the setting sun of that time epoch. [Emphasis added]. I have found these identical King portraits EVERYWHERE!
By the way, I do add the extra step of taking the Google Earth image and color manipulating the imagein Adobe Photoshop, with each color frequency giving me different results for some strange reason.
Note, I can’t say that many people believe these theories, these images which I find. I do believe the position of the facial posture also can be used as a time and date stamp, with every 1 degree of shift from true North being 72 years of duration. In my area of Connecticut, we have many King portraits at about 30 degrees North Northwest, to me indicating probably 2160 years ago, approx. 60 BC.
Wherever bulldozers have not been used, I am finding amazing shapes in all English countrysides… give me a location, and I think I will prove my point.
My article on the Uffington Horse King Portraits is located at
“False Coloring in Photoshop shows Subsurface Details”
Ancient, ancient, treasures are in every backyard, every golf course, every open field, in the UK…