Latest developments in the BACAS and Bath Spa University collaboration

On the 19th and 20th of March BACAS members went to the Bath Spa Campus at Newton Park as part of our ongoing collaboration.

A team of BACAS volunteers and staff and student from Bath Spa carried out a geophysical survey of a site which we had identified in our work last year when we undertook conditions surveys based on the Newton Park conservation plan and a series of historic documents.
The site contained a series of mounds on the edge of a promontory and an area close to the river in the valley where there were signs of what might have been fording, milling or garden landscaping.

We used BACAS equipment to undertake resistivity surveys including 3 profiles. Staff from Bath Spa deployed their specialist satellite guided surveying equipment to accurately, sometimes as good as +/- 2mm, measure the topology of the site. We also did some surveying using essentially nineteenth century techniques by way of contrast.

Staff from Bath Spa also deployed their drone and state of the art cameras to do aerial photography over the site.

Students and BACAS volunteers on both days had an opportunity to tour a selection of the Newton Park’s enormous numbers of archaeological and heritage assets under the expert guidance of Dr Cassie Newland.

The results of our work here are still being analysed but the riverside area has so far promoted more questions than answers. The lumps and bumps on the promontory look like a building or buildings and have some interesting alignments to other features of the landscape such as a nearby avenue.

During our work we attracted the attention of a number of Bath Spa’s faculty several of whom were highly qualified archaeologists and historians who offered their support for future activities.

So where next:
• We are hoping to undertake some trial excavations of targets in the geophysics probably in June this year.
• We are hoping to do some geophysical surveys of the nearby sections of the Wansdyke probably next March.
• We are hoping to get access to the Bath Spa archives to fill in some of the gaps in the map of archaeology and heritage assets at Newton Park.
• We are arranging mechanisms to better promote BACAS membership and events to the faculty and students
• We are discussing what role Bath Spa experts might be prepared to play in other BACAS projects and collaborations