Thursday, 19 February 2009

18 February 2008

After two weeks of snow we were finally able to get back into High Close on a misty Wednesday morning. Numbers were down today due to half-term, illness, and some people going off to sunnier climes for their holidays - but they certainly missed out on a grand day out in the Yorkshire Dales. The gentle grey mist created a lovely moody atmosphere which lasted until mid-afternoon - and you can't beat that. Some large patches of snow still lay around the edges of the field which added to the atmosphere.

Having decided last time that we should create profiles of the enclosure wall, two home-made contraptions were brought along this week, and we spent most of the morning setting them up and trying them out to see if they worked, and to determine how best to record the profiles. We were all very pleased with the results - it's surprising what you can do with a few bits of wood, a couple of ranging poles, some sticky tape, string and spirit levels!

We had two visits by the farmer of High Close, and his neighbouring farmer, both of whom are very interested in our archaeological survey. By lunch-time we were getting rather cold, and our fingers and toes were a bit numb, so after our sandwiches, we set off as a group to walk the perimeter of the field. Taking the kinematic GPS with us to survey the wall as we went, we assessed the wall's features and construction as we walked the mile or so along its whole length. We came across some interesting variations in the use of stone and the methods of construction, and noted the continuation of some of the earthworks in the field as they continued under the enclosure wall into neighbouring fields. We also noted where some detailed surveying of parts of the wall would be needed, in particular one corner which was created from a huge stone buttress, blocking off the end of a walled track which could only have led into High Close. Other features such as the dew ponds (or whatever these muddy circular patches may turn out to be) which are cut through the middle by the wall, and the remains of an older wall which closely followed the line of the present wall were also noted as worthy of attention.

By the time we were back at our starting point the mist had lifted and we had plenty to think about - Next week we shall start profiling the wall properly, and hopefully also start a GPS survey of the earthworks.

Jane Lunnon

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