Case Study: Geophysical Survey at West Row Road, Mildenhall

In September and October 2016 detailed fluxgate gradiometer survey covering c. 22.5 hectares on four fields adjacent to West Row Road, Mildenhall, Suffolk was carried out as a first stage of works to assess the impact of a proposed planning application …

In September and October 2016 detailed fluxgate gradiometer survey covering c. 22.5 hectares on four fields adjacent to West Row Road, Mildenhall, Suffolk was carried out as a first stage of works to assess the impact of a proposed planning application.

The site lies within an area of archaeological interest, on a south facing slope overlooking the River Lark, a position which is topographically favourable for early settlement. Fieldwalking and metal detector surveys in the surrounding area have previously recovered artefactual material from the prehistoric through to the medieval periods, and a significant Iron Age settlement lies on the opposing river bank.

The survey was carried out using a Bartington DualGRAD 601-2 fluxgate gradiometer, with the site divided into a 20m grid geolocated employing a Leica Viva GS08+ Smart Rover RTK GLONASS/GPS, allowing an accuracy of +/- 0.01m.

Anomalies of potential archaeological origin were recorded in all four fields, indicating evidence for past settlement. Isolated positive discrete anomalies commonly indicative of archaeological pits and positive linear and curvilinear anomalies representing former ditches, enclosures and trackways containing characteristic positive magnetic backfills were prospected. Areas of magnetic disturbance deriving from ferrous agricultural objects and field boundary furniture were further identified in the dataset.

The survey datasets were subsequently processed and a report produced showing both the processed magnetometer images and interpretation plots. A program of archaeological trial trench evaluation was subsequently requested by the archaeological advisor to the planning authority, the layout of which was, in part, informed by the geophysical survey results.

READ THE REPORT (27.8mb)