Field Projects

Every year the Society is invited to conduct a number of field projects. These usually involve geophysical survey and sometimes also excavation.

If you would like to take part please contact the Project Manager listed in the projects below. No previous experience is required but if you have any particular skills they are always appreciated.

If you have researched a local project that you would like the Society to assist with please contact Andrew Hutt


Geophysics survey at La Hyde

Tudor and Georgian site in Sonning Common
This year’s excavations involved excavating three trenches.  We reopened trench 1 which was first dug in 2014.  We extended trench 3 which was first dug in 2015 and we opened a new trench (trench 4) to investigate a geophysics anomaly.

The excavations in trench 4 revealed balls of grey Kimmeridge clay which was used to make water proof floors, puddle ponds and point brick walls. Excavations in the extended trench 3 revealed a garden path which was probably associated with the Georgian garden wall and two phases of construction of a mortared flint wall.  One phase of construction has a floor of assorted tile and rubble covered with domestic rubbish – broken pots, animal bones and clay pipe.

Post excavation report in progress. Meanwhile you can read the report in the Henley Standard

New resistivity meter
For many years the Council of Independent Archaeology has been testing a new resistivity meter and the Society has been waiting to buy one.  In June following more news that it was not yet in production, the Council decided they needed a new meter. As a result we now have a TAR-3 resistivity meter from R M Frobisher.

The mobile frame for this system weighs about 2kg, the same as a bag of sugar, and the electronics are modern and fast.  Once we had taken delivery we spent three days on Streatley Meadows getting familiar with it and working with the developer to rewrite parts of the manual so it explains how to do things which are important to a geophysics surveyor, such a going back a traverse, rather than the capabilities of the machine.


Roman, Tudor and Georgian site in Sonning Common – 1-21 April
BAS were on site again this year to excavate some trenches to gain a better understanding of the Roman mortared flint wall we have found in 2015 and 2016 and to see if we can get more dating evidence for building R8 which pottery evidence suggests may be Medieval.

An open day for members of BAS and BARG was held on 18th April. A full report on excavations from 2013 to 2017 will be published later in the year. Meanwhile here is a summary of this year’s work.

Resistivity Survey at La Hyde – 13th to 15th June

The location is the suspected site of the Tudor village of La Hyde, believed to lie to the east of Sulham Lane between Pangbourne and Purley-on-Thames.

This year we want to use resistivity to check the 5m strips up to the wire fences on either side of the track from the Home Farm yard to the cottages that we could not explore using magnetometry in 2015 (grey area with oil pipeline on the left) and 2016 (two grey areas on the right)

Excavations at Cholsey – 19th to 30th June 2017

Trevor Coombs and Andrew Hutt have been involved with a site in Cholsey which may have been the site of one of the three Cholsey mills referred to Domesday.  The site is currently occupied by a house which started as a Medieval hall house, had a chimney and first floor added to it and has brick walls dating to Georgian times. Last December Martin Labram and Andrew carried out a resistivity survey of the garden to the east of the house and identified a number of anomalies (see the dark areas in the image below).

On 5th May, Trevor and Andrew met the owner who invited us to excavate some of these anomalies in the two weeks 19th to 30th June.

Geophysics survey of the grounds of Aberleigh, Hall Farm, Arborfield 18th & 21st September 2017

We are surveying this area because it is believed to be the site of three other buildings: Arborfield manor which probably dates from the 12th or 13th century, a manor house built by Edmund Standen in 1603, Arborfield House built in 1832, and a camp of Nissen huts built as part of a military base built circa 1943

See here for an interim report

The BAS Software Portfolio

Making an effective contribution to our local archaeology requires the use of both computer systems and teamwork.  For this reason, over many years Andrew Hutt identified a portfolio of applications which have been used to support the Society’s work.  More recently, Tim Lloyd and Martin Labram have identified new applications to add. Members may download a pdf of a paper explaining the current portfolio and the uses of each application.