Digging into the Collections August 5, 2016

The Ohio History Connection was honored to host Dr. Kris Lockyear of the Institute of Archaeology at the University College London on July 26th for the presentation “Revealing Verulamium: the archaeology of a Roman town in southern England.”

As those of you who were able to attend know, Dr. Lockyear has been conducting geophysical surveys at Verulamium for the past three years.  Geophysical surveys are how archaeologists detect what is underneath the ground without excavation.  It uses remote sensing technology to detect subsurface cultural features.  According to Dr. Lockyear:

of the many geophysical techniques that exist, archaeologists generally make use of four: magnetic gradiometry, earth resistance, ground penetrating radar (GPR) and magnetic susceptibility.  Each technique measures some aspect of the ground below the surface.  By taking many readings on a regular grid and plotting the results, information about the archaeological site can be gained without having to dig it up.

Geophysical surveys are one of Dr. Lockyear’s specialties.  Since 2013, he has been working with several local heritage groups to conduct geophysical surveys on a number Late Iron Age and Roman sites throughout Hertfordshire, England including Verulamium.  During his presentation, Dr. Lockyear discussed his findings as well as the history of the site and previous archaeological investigations.  Dr. Lockyear did a fantastic job of blending these three facets together and giving the audience a good sense of the site’s layout.

For me personally, I found his talk fascinating as I had been researching Verulamium for the past couple of months.  If you didn’t attend the lecture, you may be asking yourself why I was researching a Roman site in Britain and why we had Dr. Lockyear come to speak.  You may have already guessed because of the nature of this blog, but the answer is because we have artifacts from the site! So the next couple of posts will be about these artifacts which Dr. Lockyear was kind enough to examine.

First, I’ll provide a brief background of the site (in case you were unable to attend the lecture), and then I’ll discuss the artifacts themselves.  So stay tuned for more!

Posted August 5, 2016

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