Moving to the next stage (Milton, week 5)

A fairly substantial ditch looking at some colour-coated ware © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
Plant arrives back on the site © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
A feature with a lot of bones © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023

It’s week 5 at Milton and while literally louder on site, it’s been a little quieter in terms of archaeological discoveries.

As we mentioned in our last update, the plant (machinery) has returned to strip the next area of topsoil. This always brings with it a sense of renewed energy for a project, as it means we’re about to embark on uncovering a fresh area ripe with archaeological potential. It also comes with a slight switch of focus to monitor the operation as we prepare the next area for investigation.

That said, we’re still working hard and finishing in the initial part of the site, which is cordoned off with sturdy fencing to protect it – and the team – while the machinery works nearby. The drone work we undertook the week before has now yielded some detailed imagery of this area, which you can see in the images below. By employing photogrammetry techniques, with low-level drone passes and careful attention to overlap and image quality, it’s allowed us to acquire comprehensive and high-resolution data which was subsequently processed and exported into QGIS.

Drone photogram - normal © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
Drone photogram - enhanced © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023

In this software, we enhanced the archaeological features through meticulous adjustments of RGB values, fine-tuning contrast, colour balance, and noise reduction, to reveal previously hidden intricacies. The application of these techniques has not only heightened the visibility of the archaeological features but has also contributed to a more nuanced understanding of their spatial characteristics. QGIS has proved invaluable in this endeavour, enabling us to unlock the full potential of the photogrammetry data and delve deeper into the site’s rich archaeological landscape.

More of this to come, we’re sure.

Once cleared, our progress in the new area got underway at the end of the week. And as we delve into this next stage of the excavation, we continue to unearth intriguing artefacts, including pottery pieces akin to our previously discovered finds. While not drastically different, the finds continue to captivate us with their good condition and preservation, and keep adding to our understanding by offering a glimpse into the craftsmanship and cultural practices of the Roman era.

One of the most striking aspects of excavation remain the substantial enclosure ditches, from which the abundance of animal bones and delicate fragments of pottery further enrich our understanding of stock rearing, slaughter, diet and the associated material culture. We’re buzzing with excitement to see the rest of the site layout and to find the focus of this activity, while continuing to carefully document and conserve the finds we come across. Every step brings us closer to unravelling the mysteries of the site and shedding light on the lives of those who once inhabited it.

Let’s see what we find in the next week. In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagram so you don’t miss an update.

Previous update (week 4).

Next update (week 6).

See the main project page here.

An assortment of pottery finds burnished wares and some samian © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
Drone shot of cordoned off area © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
Starting the strip and looking for treasure © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
Panoramic shot of the site © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
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