Cranfield University was approached to undertake a geophysical survey of an area of archaeological interest at the village of Ogbourne St Andrew, Wilshire. Following a preliminary survey in 2011, a full geophysical and topographical survey of the site was carried out over the course of 8 months in 2013.
The 1.45 hectares site surrounds a scheduled Bronze Age barrow that is located within the existing boundaries of St Andrew’s Church. Two paddocks situated to the east and west of the church were included as part of the survey area.
The raised ground on which the church sits is now primarily considered to be the result of ‘uplift’ of soil caused by human burial practices over hundreds of years. The earthwork bank is the edge of this ‘uplifted’ area and formed the church boundary prior to the later graveyard extension.
The current boundary of the churchyard is unlikely to be following the line of the original. A theory relating to a more symmetrical site boundary that places the scheduled monument at the heart of the site can be found within the body of the report. It is considered likely that human burials have taken place outside of the current boundary, particularly in the East Paddock, and the gardens to the south of the church. Earth resistivity equipment was used to undertake the geophysical aspect of the survey. This was supported with some limited use of ground penetrating RADAR.
The Bronze Age barrow, currently masked by undergrowth and trees, shows signs of deformation, but still stands at over five and half metres tall with a base measurement of over forty metres. In the neighbouring field, and outside the boundary of the scheduled monument, there is strong evidence of a ring ditch surrounding the barrow, with less defined evidence of the same running through the graveyard. Outside of normal burial practices, no evidence of sub-surface structures or excavations was found within the graveyard. It has not been possible to support the theory of an earlier Saxon church near to the existing church building.
Both geophysical techniques confirmed the presence of sub-surface features in both neighbouring fields. Anomalies in the West Paddock imply structural remnants consistent with theories of medieval manorial buildings in this area. All geophysical results have been plotted on scale drawings and are included in this report.
The exact location of grave markers has been recorded and plotted on an individual site plan. A database containing the transcript of information found on each grave marker has been created and can be cross referenced with the individual site plan referred to above. There is a recommendation for further geophysical survey work in the East Paddock and for additional research into the geospatial arrangement of the buildings in the West Paddock.
Tim Fletcher - Geophysical & Topograhical Survey Report 2013 - Cranfield University