Aspull Ring Feature

We first became aware of this feature when Steven Twigg (formally of STAG – South Trafford Archaeology Group) contacted us with an aerial image in 2019. The crop mark shows up quite clearly as a dark green circle and seems to represent a circular ditch around 40m in diameter. Viewing various other aerial images spanning a number of years confirmed the mark to be more than just a temporary agricultural feature.
The size of the circle would suggest something prehistoric and probably older than Iron Age as it is certainly bigger than a roundhouse. The LiDAR image however revealed the site to have a shallow mound in the centre. This would suggest a Bronze Age barrow (similar sized ones can be seen at Normanton Down in Wiltshire). Its central mound and continuous surrounding ditch would suggest a Type 2 Bowl Barrow as classified by Historic England. (ref)
In the Autumn of 2021, we carried out a resistivity survey of the site with very encouraging results as reported in our October Newsletter (No.246). This year we’ve been able to return to carry out further investigations and start a season of excavations. You can find more details of our Aspull Ring Ditch project here
– and follow our the progress with our Site Diary blog here

Aspull DMV Survey

In February 2020 our attention was drawn to crop marks appearing on earlier versions Google Earth in a field in Aspull. They only appear in 2012 and 2013 but as they span over 12 months it suggests they are likely to represented something more than just agricultural activity.   What is interesting about the rectilinear shapes of the crop marks is that they have all the hallmarks of a DMV (i.e. a Deserted Medieval Village). A circular feature on the left side of the field could be even be prehistoric. DMV sites can be found all over the country although few occur in the northwest (the nearest examples is perhaps at Tatton Park in Cheshire). Their dates can range across the whole of the early Medieval period although they are usually the result of either the plague or clearance by the lord of the manor to create a park (as was the case at Tatton).
Corvid has effected or field operations but lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease so, being eager to get back into the field, we started our survey of the site earlier this month.  You can find out how we got on here.

Douglas River Source Trip

As part of the Douglas River Project, last month Eric and I met at Rivington Barn for a trip onto Rivington moor. This was to see if we could trace the route of the River on the moor and perhaps find its source (clues where to look are in the name i.e. Douglas Springs). Having climbed up through the terraces of Lord Leverhulme’s Japanese garden onto Belmont Road, we soon had our first encounter with the River – little more than a stream at this point, it passes through a culvert under the road at a place called Brown Hill. You can find details of the rest of the trip here.

Roman Road Research Online

Lockdown has given me the opportunity to catch up with all the research we have carried out over years on the Roman roads in our area. Our investigations go back to the earliest days of the Society – we made our first foray into the field as early as 1985. However our researches began even earlier when, in 1983, we produced our first report on the road leading north out of Wigan. You can now see all this work here  .Also

Wigan to Walton-le-Dale
Wigan to Warrington
Wigan to Manchester
Wigan to Burscough
Wigan to Ribchester

St Wilfrid’s Ledger Stones Survey

Following on from our Graffiti Survey last year in the Parish Church at Standish, it has been our intention to record the grave slabs (ledger stones) inside the church. These were exposed when the carpets were removed last year. These ledger stones have not seen the light of day in a good many years and we thought it would be a shame for them disappear again without being properly recorded. You can follow our progress here.

GM Festival of Archaeology 2019 (Toddington Lane Well Site)

Another great festival weekend with eleven bodies on our site at Toddingtons on Saturday and a further nine on Sunday – including a total of seven members of the general public. We also had a good number of visitors stopping by over the two days inquiring about our activity on our Well Site, which is on the west side of Toddington Lane at Haigh. 
We were looking for the old well marked on the 1849 OS but not on any later maps, and also evidence of the possible Roman road linking Wigan with Ribchester. You can follow our activities on our site diary here.

Eye in the Sky

We bought our new drone in October last year after being inspired by our unusually dry summer. It was obviously too late for us to take advantage of those conditions but we have found plenty of opportunities to try out our new toy. This last week has been no exception – with the unusually warm and sunny weather for this time of year, we took advantage of the ideal conditions to visit sites north of Coppull at :-
Row High Wood and
Charnock Richard where the line of the Roman road extends towards Euxton – also
Pingot Valley where 4 years ago we looked for remains of The Arches viaduct, and
Dean Lock a new site for us on the Douglas Navigation where the remains of a river lock may have survived.