The Calibration of a Landscape

For the last week the Universities of Birmingham and Ghent have been working hard in the Stonehenge Landscape, carrying out excavations with an interesting twist.

For several years now, Dr. Philippe De Smedt of the University of Ghent has been conducting electromagnetic induction surveys* (EMI) over vast areas of the Stonehenge Landscape. He,  Paul Garwood and Dr. Henry Chapman (both of the University of Birmingham) now want to be able to understand the survey data more clearly by substantiating it through excavation and coring.


Excavation of two of the anomalies in the EMI Survey ©Philippe De Smedt/University of Ghent

Using the data from these surveys, and also coring results from work carried out towards the end of last year, the team are targeting specific features in the landscape for excavation. These features were chosen because of the particular signals they were giving out – some archaeological and some geological. These excavations and comparisons with the survey data will, in turn, support improved interpretation of EMI geophysical data from a calibrated landscape.


Archaeologists from Birmingham and Ghent excavating a large pit ©National Trust/Briony Clifton

The team will be continuing their excavations this week (from Tuesday 4 July until Sunday 9 July) so if you are paying the Stonehenge World Heritage Site a visit, have a wander into the Landscape and see for yourself. On many of the days you will be able to chat to one or two National Trust volunteers who will explain what the team is up to.


Sieving each bucketful ©National Trust/Briony Clifton

*electromagnetic surveying – a type of geophysical survey using electrical conductivity and magnetic susceptibility, measuring properties of the soil and depth levels.

This entry was posted in Archaeology, Dig, Geophysics, Stonehenge landscape on by .

About brionystorm

Briony Clifton is the National Trust Archaeology Assistant for the Stonehenge and Avebury WHS. She studied at the University of Southampton with a dissertation which focused on the reconstruction and use of the houses discovered by Stonehenge Riverside Project team at Durrington Walls. She has worked on the Between the Monuments project with Southampton and Leicester Universities.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s