Resistivity Results

With thanks to all of the volunteers, here are the results of the resistivity survey you carried out around the chapel site at Lower Brockhampton.

This technique measures concentrations of high and low resistance within the soil by passing an electric current between two points.  If there is high resistance  (indicated by dark grey, yellow and orange colours on the map), it could mean that solid bedrock lies close to the surface; alternatively it may also indicate the presence of archaeological features such as rubble, walls, floors or roads.

Low resistance on the other hand (indicated by white and green colours on the map), may indicate the location of buried pits, ditches or naturally damp areas.

Results of the resistivity survey
Results of the resistivity survey

If you look at the map we hope you can all see the distinct three yellow/orange anomalies within the west of the survey area.  All of these are close to the hedge within the field, which causes the wavey look on that side of the survey (the vegetation was too thick to fight through).  These features represent something solid beneath the ground surface.  It is difficult to say what they are at this stage, but they may indicate the location of debris, perhaps the collapsed remains of individual buildings?

However, they could alternatively indicate areas of buried hard-standing, as is the case to the south of the chapel where grass has overgrown part of the gravel drive.

Results of the resistivity survey showing the location of features of interest
Results of the resistivity survey showing the location of features of interest

Two features of particular interest do stand out however, the first is located just to north of the chapel, roughly central the survey area.  A series of linear anomalies of high resistance can just be made out, some of which appear to change directions at right angles.  Is it possible that we have found the foundations of a building?

The second feature is a curved line of high resistance within the north of the survey area.  With further manipulation of the results the line appears to have a gap along its course.  Does this feature represent the buried remains of a boundary that once went around the chapel and if so, have we found an original gateway?

If you look at the 1829 Estate Map carefully, you may notice a curved boundary to the north of the chapel, perhaps this is what we have found?

One striking result of the survey is the apparent absence of any graves, particularly as it has been widely stated that 50 exist at the site!  So what is going on?  Does this mean that the chapel as we know it, was not always a chapel in an earlier life?  Rather than being an early Norman Chapel, was it originally a barn, located within an enclosure of other farm structures?  As we know, the appearance of the chapel as we see it today is due to renovations made by John Domulton in the 1380’s.  So what was it like before?

Like all these things we may only find out once the excavations begin on the 19th July.


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