New Forest Knowledge Conference 2017

Posted on July 31, 2019


I am restarting my series of posts on presentations that I have filmed at conferences. Today’s post is a whole conference:
Conference info
The New Forest Knowledge Conference 2017 will celebrate the archaeological and historical research being carried out in and around the New Forest. It will provide an opportunity to find out who is doing what, share the results of recent work, discuss new techniques and approaches and find out how you might get involved in the future. The conference will run over two days from Friday 27 October through to Saturday 28 October 2017 at the Lyndhurst Community Centre. As well as presented papers there will be poster displays from local community groups and students and various display stands. We will aim to ensure there is enough time for you to enjoy these and also to chat with other individuals and representatives from local community groups and organisations.
#NewForest: using social media and mobile data to manage our heritage Lawrence Shaw, New Forest National Park Authority & University of Winchester
In recent years, funding bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and Higher Level Stewardship schemes have help facilitate the development of volunteer lead heritage recording programs in the New Forest. Overseen by project officers, these not only help to record and protect archaeological assets but also engages local residents with this unique protected landscape. Whilst proven to be successful in their aims, these approaches regularly misses out on the engagement of younger audiences. Much like the rest of the heritage sector, 12-24 year olds have rarely engaged with this work, yet the importance of educating this age group with these landscapes is still as important as ever, not least because they will inherit these national assets in years to come. This research has looked to tackle this issue through the utilisation of new Big Data sets including social media and anonymised mobile data to help officers understand how this hard to reach audience see and uses the New Forest. By understanding this it may then be possible to develop new projects that engage this hard to reach audience in a way that was not previously possible whilst also gaining vital citizen science data that can be used to record and enhance the New Forest’s special heritage.
Animal Maiming in the New Forest as an instrument of protest and punishment by Gale Gould (University of Southampton)
During the Duke of Bedford’s tenure as Lord Warden of the New Forest, many instances of animal maiming were documented in the correspondence with his assistants, estate managers and Forest officials. These included accounts of the stabbing of horses, laming of cattle, poisoning of dogs and killing of deer. The motives for conducting acts of maiming have been closely associated with forms of covert political protest, such as breaking enclosures, destroying timber plantations, burning hayricks and even poaching. Such clandestine acts were generally committed as part of an organised campaign of discontent. Attacks on animals were also undertaken as a form of punishment or petty revenge, with the animal acting as a proxy for its owner. Many of the cases in the New Forest during the period of this study were acts perpetrated to frustrate the Lord Warden’s attempts to advance his conservation policy of protecting the venison and vert, by intimidating his keepers and law-abiding tenants. In some cases, the perpetrators were not necessarily demonstrating against their own discontent but were being incited to use such violence by senior officials, who wanted to express their dissatisfaction with Bedford’s attempts to correct their maladministration of the Forest and to hide their own corrupt activities.
Gazetteer of New Forest Properties

The Gazetteer of New Forest Houses is a list of the larger country houses in the New Forest area, together with a list of their residents and owners from about 1850 to about 1920, which resulted from my MA dissertation submitted to the University of Winchester in 2012, ‘A Country House or a House in the Country?’ In this paper I shall talk about the scope and contents of the gazetteer; how the various parts of it relate; what sources I used; and how it might continue to evolve.
Using Aerial Imagery for Desk Based Research  Jack Powell, Aerial Imagery Analyst, Air Photo Services

Aerial photography for use in archaeology took off from the 1930s onwards with pioneers such as O G S Crawford and St Joseph photographing archaeological sites across the country. Presently Air photos are utilised alongside other aerial imagery data sets, such as Lidar, as key resources for the mitigation of archaeological sites and features ahead of large scale infrastructure projects, housing developments and research. The types of air photos consulted ahead of these works are oblique air photos (photos taken at an angle with the site of interest in the centre of the photo) and vertical photos (taken from a high altitude usually as part of mapping surveys rather than archaeological prospection). The data from these photographs are mapped and processed into GIS (Geographical Information Systems) data which is used to inform research, surveys and reports. Using selected examples from across the country, including the New Forest, this talk will aim to inform about the different types of air photos, how archaeology is represented on aerial photographs, where to access them and how they can be incorporated into an archaeological project.

Air Photo Services is a leading UK provider of specialist independent interpretation of aerial imagery for heritage, planning, environmental and legal applications. Working nationally and internationally we provide detailed expert interpretation and mapping from modern and historical aerial photographs, satellite and Airborne Laser Scan (ALS, also known as Lidar) imagery.

Automated Detection of Archaeology in the New Forest using Deep Learning with Remote Sensor Data Iris Kramer , Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK

Jonathon Hare, Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK

Isabel Sargent, Ordnance Survey, UK

Adam Prugel-Bennett, Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK

As a result of the New Forest Knowledge project, many new sites were discovered. This was partly due to the undertaken LiDAR survey which was followed by an intensive manual process to interpret the results. The research presented in this paper looks at methods to automate this process especially for round barrow detection using deep learning.

Traditionally, automated methods require manual feature engineering to extract the visual appearance of a site on remote sensing data. Whereas this approach is difficult, expensive and bound to detect a single type of site, recent developments have moved towards automated feature learning of which deep learning is the most notable. In our approach, we use known site locations together with LiDAR data and aerial images to train Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs). This network is typically constructed of many layers with each representing a different filter (e.g. to detect lines or edges). When this network is trained, each new site location that is fed to the network will update the weights of features to better represent the appearance of sites in the remote sensing data. For this learning process, an accurate dataset is required with a lot of examples and therefore the New Forest is a very suitable case study, especially thanks to the extensive research of the New Forest Knowledge project.

In this paper, our latest results will be presented together with a future perspective on how we can scale our approach to a country wide detection method when computing power becomes even more efficient.

HLF Funding for heritage projects Judith Carruthers, Development Officer, Heritage Lottery Fund

Find out what type of heritage projects HLF fund and how to apply. Grants start at £3000 and cover the whole spectrum of heritage from community archaeology projects, restoring natural heritage sites through to developing exciting new heritage centres.

This talk will cover what funding programmes are available, how projects are assessed and include some useful case studies.

As Development Officer, Judith offers advice on HLF applications prior to their submission, particularly in South East HLF priority development areas.

Three sites on the coastal zone: Roman, Saxon and Medieval Dr Andy Russel, Southampton Archaeology Unit

The Southampton Archaeology Unit has worked on three interesting coastal sites in the last few years. All produced unexpected results, from different periods. At Lepe we found round-houses and kilns. Was there a New Forest pottery industry that wasn’t the ‘New Forest Pottery Industry’ and why were they importing stone from Dorset? In Buckland work is ongoing on a site that had round-house like features on the geophysics but produced what appears to be the Forest’s first Saxon rectangular hall, and at Lymington instead of salt pans we found medieval ‘sleeching’. All three sites reinforce the importance of the coast in the story of the New Forest.

 The New Forest and the Great War 1917

Richard Williams, New Forest War Memorial Books

To date we have published 17 village-based books, three generic New Forest books and we are shortly to publish-The New Forest and the Great War 1917.

The project began in 1998 with Brockenhurst and the Two World Wars as a millennium project for the village. Of a print run of 1.200 copies, 900 were sold in 2000. Five researchers are involved and one proof-reader.

The aim of the research and the books is to discover the impact of war on this small rural area and build a social profile of those men and women who lost their lives through war. By so doing they are therefore remembered as people, not just unknown names on a War Memorial.

The talk will focus on the years 1914-1918 and will cover those 1,009 local men who died in the four years and four months (52 months) of war. The talk will cover three main areas; it will discuss the challenges of who to include, occupations, social mobility, emigration, size of families, class distinction, military service, gratuities and pensions. It will also consider the role of Church, working parties, National Savings, food control and local politics.

Though this is not typical archaeology, it is original research and does help to enhance understanding of the New Forest in what is arguably its most turbulent period since the Black Death. The effects of the loss of an average 20 working-age men per month can still be felt today.

Equipping the Armada: The Archaeology of Lepe Country Park Stephen Fisher

The coastal country park of Lepe in the New Forest played a significant role in the events of June 1944. In the years and months leading up to D-Day, the waterfront saw extensive preparations, including the construction of massive breakwaters for the famous Mulberry Harbour, purpose built embarkation hards for landing craft and a terminal for the PLUTO pipeline.

Today, the remains of this massive infrastructure can still be found on the shore and eroding from the cliffs behind the beach. One of the earliest archaeological surveys of what remains was undertaken in 1990 and since then numerous investigations have followed, most recently as part of the New Forest National Park Authority’s New Forest Remembers: Untold Stories of World War II project.

Despite the extensive fieldwork, documentary sources for Lepe remain scarce. It is only recently that historical sources pertaining to a First World War gun battery at the site have been identified and these provide only scant detail. Similarly, there are no known plans of the Second World War battery, the PLUTO installation or the Mulberry construction site and, so far, only a handful of blurry wartime photographs of the site have been uncovered.

Lepe is a site where, almost alone, archaeology is providing answers about these installations. What more can survey and excavation tell us and how do they contribute to this site’s story?

Will Buckland Rings Reveal its secrets? Josie Hagan, Bournemouth University

I am a student placement from Bournemouth University spending a year working with the New Forest National Park Authority

After working in a variety of roles and helping staff I commenced my final project, which involved a Geophysical Survey of Buckland Rings.

The Geophysical Survey of Buckland Rings was to investigate if there was any evidence of settlement within the Hillfort, which had previously been excavated in the 1930’s by Hawkes and surveyed in the 1990’s by the Royal Commission, but was still relatively unknown.

The survey lasted a total of six days, and with the help from Bournemouth University students and New Forest Volunteers a total of 4 hectares was covered.

The results from the survey uncovered potential internal round houses, linear features and the trenches from Hawkes excavation within the Hillfort, and also some Medieval field systems just to the east of the site, which were previously unknown.

To set these findings in the wider landscape, Buckland Rings is in very close proximity to Ampress, which lies just to the east. While Ampress has been built over and is now part of a waterworks, some radiocarbon dates have been obtained from the site, which suggest the site may have been Saxon or Danish. This evidence in conjunction with the findings of Medieval settlement around Buckland Rings could indicate to both sites being multi-phase sites, with long periods of settlement.

The next step in finding out more from Buckland Rings and its place in the wider landscape would be to have a small community excavation, which will hopefully take place this year.

New Forest Roman Pottery: the centenary of Heywood Sumner’s excavation at Ashley Rails Professor Michael Fulford, University of Reading, Dept. of Archaeology

Although its products have strong links with main stream repertoires, the New Forest Roman pottery industry nevertheless has a very distinctive character. The paper will summarise what we have learnt about the New Forest Roman pottery industry since Heywood Sumner’s pioneering excavations began at Ashley Rails in 1917. It will touch on the kilns and the organisation of production, the range of vessel types produced, their distinctive schemes of decoration, and their distributions.

Excavations at the ‘Royal Hunting Lodge’ at Church Place, Denny Wait Dr Paul Everill, University of Winchester

A number of sites across the New Forest are considered to be the remains of medieval hunting lodges, constructed in the 14th or 15th centuries by order of the king. More than half a dozen are described as such by Historic England and are protected as Scheduled Ancient Monuments and, in some cases, it is possible to link the surviving earthworks with lodges named in various court rolls. While there are many similarities in the layout of the earthworks, there are also some important differences in both the apparent height of the banks and the presence, or absence, of building material that might indicate significant structures. Geophysical survey and excavation of the scheduled site at Church Place, Denny Wait, in 2016 and 2017 suggests that there is greater variety in the nature and function of these sites than has previously been thought. While the archaeological evidence supports the dating of the site, the absence of confirmed structural remains suggests a more ephemeral and perhaps temporary use of the site. This paper will outline the background to the excavations, and consider the results and possible interpretations arising from them.

An ecological perspective on long-term human impact within the New Forest Dr Michael J Grant, COARS, Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton, University of Southampton

The New Forest epitomises the term landscape – land shaped by the people – and has been subject to a unique series of events culminating in the current structure of its vegetation and land use. The rich documentary and cartographic record attaining to the New Forest has provided key insights into processes since the medieval period, yet the record of human activity further back in the past becomes increasingly sparse, especially before the Bronze Age where little can be gleaned from the archaeological record. This means there needs to be a reliance on other sources of information that can infer past human activities and their impact within the Forest. One such long-term archive resides within the peatlands that are so numerous across the Forest. By analysing the plant remains and pollen grains preserved within the deep ‘bog’ sequences it is possible to determine the vegetation present within the Forest in the distant past and how it has constantly evolved since the last ice age. These long records highlight periods of increased human activity and changes in past land management, therefore providing a much-needed environmental context for the archaeological remains found within the Forest. Most notably these records show that the heathlands are not solely the result of Bronze Age clearances, and some areas of the Ancient and Ornamental woodlands have always sustained a tree canopy and therefore never subject to extensive clearance – a claim that very few woodlands in England can substantiate.

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