Thursday, 11 May 2017

South Dorset Ridgeway archaeology

A unique project has identified 2500 new archaeological sites on the South Dorset Ridgeway, just one of the exceptional landscapes that make up the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Using aerial photography, archaeologists have been able to record a rich tapestry of sites previously hidden beneath the soil. Now local people are being given the chance to increase our depth and understanding of these places.

So far the National Mapping Project (funded by Historic England, carried out by Cornwall Archaeology Unit and archived by the Historic Environment Record) has demonstrated how people throughout time, lived and worked in the South Dorset Ridgeway landscape. Some of the most important discoveries are dozens of new Bronze Age round barrows, showing that the South Dorset Ridgeway contains a greater density of prehistoric burial monuments than the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. Changing methods of farming, from 2500 years ago until today, are also evident; particularly important are 39 water meadows systems. The research has also identified many more recent remains such as those from World War II.

With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership are holding a series of practical, archaeological, events for the public. Stepping beyond aerial photography and desk-based research these will physically record archaeological sites, both those identified through aerial photography and new ones highlighted by the public. This will provide a richer understanding of the importance of the South Dorset Ridgeway. All the information gathered will be used to update the Historic Environment Record, the main archive archaeologists use to understand local landscapes.
Hayley Roberts, Community Archaeologist for the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership said:
The South Dorset Ridgeway is a special place, getting Ridgeway communities involved will not only be great fun, but also invaluable in helping understand these new sites and their importance to local people. We have data to record from medieval settlements to World War II remains, all super exciting!”
 Events run from: 26th May at Sutton Poyntz 3rd June Martinstown, 5th June Abbotsbury, 24th June Broadmayne
To book contact: 01305225860 
For full details: Visit: www. www.southdorsetridgeway.org.uk

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