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No. 35  July 2000

Monthly Newsletter

Geophys Success

Following up on last month’s geophys work, I have superimposed the plot on to the map of the north field at Brimlow.  From this, it is possible to get an idea of the direction the road takes.  I have also added the plan of the results from the work we did in the 1980’s, as it was directly adjacent to the current area.  As you can see there is a remarkably close correlation between the two plots.  This gives me great confidence that the work we are doing here is true and representative of the underlying archaeology.  Writing in the 19th century, W.T Watkins, describes the road in this area as being 14 yards wide - certainly within the range of our findings.




The small area at the top of the left picture is the area surveyed in 1988.  The superimposed rectangular areas below A & B are the site of the 1988 excavations.  The larger area below is the recently surveyed area (2000) and shows the clear outlines of the road that is approximately 14 yards (12.8 metres) wide.

South Field

With this success under our belt, this month we turned are attentions to the south field at Brimlow.  Finding evidence in this field would definitely give a compelling argument for the existence of the Roman road at Brimlow.  Nothing is shown on any map here and there is no visible sign on the surface.  Previous work in this field has also proved negative or inconclusive.

Geophys Failure

This session turned out to be a bit of a disaster.  First the 100-metre cable got tangled in the reel, taking ages to unravel.  Then we could not get the meter to work properly.  Normally I use a 10-milliamp setting over the long distance between the fixed and mobile probes, but for some reason this output was overloading the voltmeter.  I was forced to use the 1-milliamp setting, but with such a small output we could not achieve any consistency.  After two attempts, covering areas at 90 degrees to each other, and still no repeatable results, we decided to abandon the session.  To top it all, when John Barker got back to his car, he found it had been broken into and the tax disc stolen. A miserable day all round.

It was only when I got home that I realised the difference between this and last month’s session.  I had set the fixed probe separation at 3 metres instead of the usual 1 metre.  This was a recommendation I had received over the Internet, which in theory would give enhanced sensitivity.  Obviously I had over cooked it (next time I’ll stick to the tried and tested settings).


As mentioned last month this year’s trip is to Carlisle - here are the details.  The coach will leave Wigan at 8.45am. to arrive in Carlisle before 11am.

This will give us chance to visit the Tullie House Museum for half price (1.85 adults 1.35 children and OAPs).  The attractions here include interactive exhibits of the Roman town of Luguvalium and a unique audio-visual show telling the bloody tales of the lawless Border Reivers.

The Castle is only across the way and if we go in a group we get 15% off which means 2.55 adults 1.70 OAPs and 1.35 for children.

Other attractions in Carlisle are; the Cathedral, the Miltary museum, the Citadel (an unfinished fortress for the southern end of the city walls) and the West Wall (built in the 1200’s, between the Cathedral and the Town Dyke Orchard car park).

Birdoswald Roman Fort is a half-hour’s drive away and therefore may not be possible in the time available (something to discuss at the meeting).  Hopefully, if the coach leaves at 5.00pm we should be back in Wigan for about 7.00pm.  The cost of the coach is 14 (7 for children), which is a little more than usual but I’m sure it will be well worth it.  Incidentally there are still some places left.

Next Meeting

Wednesday 5th July at the BP Centre (Scout HQ) in Greenough Street, at 7.30 pm as usual.  This month’s speaker is Dr Mary Higham who will be giving us the 2nd instalment of her talk on Medieval Parks and Gardens.

Hope to see you at there - B.A.