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No.54 June 2002

Monthly Newsletter

New Resistivity Meter

Resistivity MeterOur machine has arrived at last and looks like it’s been well worth the wait. The CIA and TR Systems, who designed and built it, have done a great job. The build quality throughout is excellent; from the stainless steel frame to the mahogany baseboard. The meter itself has as LCD display on the front panel and controls which are comprehensive but easy to use. Downloading the data into the computer couldn’t be simpler and impatient to see it in action, last month I rapidly organised a field trip to our regular site at Brimlow Farm. Readers of our newsletters (No.34 in particularly) will know we have been trying to locate the Roman Road here for a number of years now. Despite the short notice, I managed to muster enough of the usual activists to carry out a quick survey. I’m sorry if I missed anybody who wanted to be involved, but there will be plenty of opportunities for more trips in the coming months.

Establishing Datums

The day was beautiful and the field was in perfect condition as the farmer is still growing turf here. However, a fast meter doesn’t always compensate for slow marking out. Trees have grown since we first established the base line across these fields 16 years ago, so re-establishing the line proved more difficult then expected. However once we got going, we managed a 24 x 24 metre grid in fairly rapid time with everybody having a go with the meter. I brought my laptop in the car so was able to display the findings immediately after we had finished (not too successful in the bright sunlight).


The section we attempted was in the south field opposite the farmhouse, straddling our predicted line for the Road. Two years ago a similar section was completed in the north field using our home-made meter. The results then were quite distinct with high readings indicating the line of the road. This was expected as excavations in 1988 had already proven the existence of a road. In this field, however the results were not so obvious but the signs were encouraging. A very dark (high resistivity) area in the top right-hand corner of the survey area corresponds with the old field boundary, which also happens to be where it crosses the Parish boundary. There may be some significance here. There is also some shadowing along the predicted line, although less distinct. In 1989 the Society opened three trial trenches in this area, which although inconclusive, did shows signs of a cobbled surfacing.  As you can see, we may have just been unlucky in sighting these trenches. The middle trench did have indications of a ditch next to the cobble surfacing.   This field has always proved difficult, but any evidence of a road here would I think prove conclusively that it had a Roman origin as it would be seen to be spanning two unconnected fields.  Next time out, we should be able to cover a much larger area and hopefully establish the line of the road once and for all.  Please indicate at the next meeting if you are interested in being involved in any future trips.

Summer Trip

Tom Glover has been looking at the possibility of a trip to Kirkby Lonsdale and nearby Hornby. He is in contact with a local archaeologist who may be able to provide us with a guided tour. Tom will have more details at the meeting.

Technical Assistance

Mark Fletcher from Matrix Archaeology (who took us round Winstanley Hall in April) has agreed to be our technical advisor. This means that in any future work undertaken we will have professional guidance. Over the years, Mark has shown great interest in the work of our Society and has helped us on a number of occasions. He also believes that the archaeological heritage of the Wigan area is extremely important.
By the way he has given me a copy of his Winstanley Hall report, which will be available at the next meeting for anybody who wants to borrow it.

Next Meeting

Wednesday 5th June at the BP Centre (Scout HQ) in Greenough Street, at 7.30 pm as usual. This month’s speaker is Steve Rigby, Secretary of the British Titanic Society, who will be updating us on the latest developments (coincidentally he has an exhibition running in the Wigan town centre at the moment).
Unfortunately I will be on holiday for this meeting but I’m sure we will be able to organise a site visit for the following week. B.A.