On a cold, but not too blustery, April morning, Leicestershire YAC relaunched after two years of forced dormancy with a session on how to draw a hillfort at Burrough Hill Iron Age Hillfort. As the day approached, our Branch Leader, Mathew’s, anxiety increased (his site visit two days earlier was in a snow storm!) but it proved to be a fine day for surveying with 20 YACs and it was great to finally welcome back our Club members with a great, practical outdoor session.
Surveying the earthworks of a historic monument like Burrough Hill is one of the oldest forms of archaeological recording. It was used by early archaeologists (called antiquarians) in the 17th and 18th centuries and is still used by archaeologists today. It is a really useful tool for mapping and understanding visible archaeological remains.
During our session, we looked at three different methods of archaeological surveying: tape and offset survey, plane table survey and GPS survey. This allowed our YACs to get some great hands-on experience taking hand-measurements and making hand-drawn plans (a must-have skill for all archaeologists) using the same techniques and equipment to record sites that the antiquarians used in the 18th century and archaeologists still use today. Thanks to University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), we were also able to borrow their fancy GPS kit, giving our YACs a chance to record parts of the hillfort using a more modern method.