As a result of a contact originally made with Kelly Wainwright via ERAS’s membership of the East Riding Cultural Partnership, (ERCP) we were able to test the new resistivity meter at Burton Constable Hall during National Archaeology Fortnight. Kelly arranged for us to put up our gazebo at the front of the house, to display our handling collection of flint tools, animal bone, pottery etc. and to talk to visitors about archaeology. (See photos on back and front covers) It was a great success and several people signed up as new ERAS members. As always, we found that the animal bone collection was the children’s favourite, followed closely by the flint tools, whilst the pottery dating was the parents’ favourite.
During the three weekends, people could watch or take part in our geophysics survey. A 17th century painting of the house shows a walled garden, courtyard and gatehouse at the east side. In order to enhance the look of a property, artists often took liberties with reality and no other drawings or maps of the east side grounds layout are known. Archivists are keen to find the exact position and details of the long demolished garden walls and the gatehouse and asked us to help. Using our new resistance meter, surveys are quicker and involve less walking, than with the old meter. The frame-mounted monitor shows results visually in real time (rather than a numerical display).
Under the guidance of Colin Parr and Richard Coates, the meter was used to survey a large area of lawn immediately east of the house. The east-west foundations of the former garden walls showed up well on the survey, as did a peripheral walkway to the south and various modern features. Some associated rounded features, positioned equidistant, just inside the north-south wall were also interesting, but could not be interpreted, although they could possibly be niches, alcoves or statue bases. What would appear to be the remains of the former gatehouse showed at either side of the gravel path, close to the house, though at a deeper level at one side than the other.
Staff at the house and gardens were all most helpful to us during the work and gave us much useful information. The survey results are in the process of being written up and a full report will be passed on to the estate managers and to the East Riding archives.