Sometimes, you can’t get any work done because all the jobs keep getting in the way. I have spent most of the week either writing the grant application I was discussing last week, or finding excuses to distract myself. One excuse today was finishing off a little experiment Robyn and I did on the last day of digging in the summer. If you walk straight up New Laund Hill by heading due east from the farm buildings on the map below two things happen. One is you wish you had gone the long way round as it is the steepest route up. The other is that as you approach the enclosure from the east you find that you are walking up a wide channel between two ridges of limestone and directly facing the biggest surviving bit of the bank and ditch.
Mike and Olaf first noticed this in 2011 when they did the gradiometer survey on the hill. Ever since then we have been wondering whether it is a coincidence that this particularly impressive way up onto the hill is blocked by the most distinctive bit of the enclosure. We thought that the first step to answering this question was a detailed survey of the bit of hillside in question. Consequently, while everyone else was doing last-minute recording, Robyn spent the last day of the dig surveying the hillside with the Leica GPS.
Today I finally got around to taking the data out of the data-logger and plotting it out in QGIS. Each yellow spot on the map is the position of a height reading taken by Robyn. The gradiometer plot also nicely shows the impressive section of bank and ditch we were looking at. The interpolate tool in QGIS can then calculate a shaded surface that shows the height of the hill – where red is high and blue is low.
I also added one metre contours to this plot just to make it all a bit clearer but I think it shows the shape of the channel we were all walking up very nicely. If this was a prehistoric route up onto the hill, then it is interesting that, not only does the enclosure bank block it off very thoroughly, but the entrance to the timber circle we discovered this year also points in a completely different direction. It is almost as if, by building the enclosure and circle, someone was trying to change the way people habitually moved over the hill.