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Contemporary Military Archaelogy, Landscapes, Research, Outreach & Blogging

#PicOfTheDay The #WWII #blockhouse near Featherwood

The WWII blockhouse near Featherwood, a scheduled monument. Best admired from afar on account of it is set into the side of a narrow slippery gully full of nettles and death. 


From the Historic England scheduling page: “The blockhouse, which is now redundant, has been inserted into the narrow valley bottom of the upper Sills Burn where it lies below the sight line. The blockhouse, which lies immediately across the burn from Featherwood Farm, is clearly of military construction and shares similar constructional techniques with other blockhouses on the Range. It is thought that it was constructed by the military and served as an early blast shelter for the protection of the inhabitants of Featherwood during periods of live firing at the Redesdale Range.”

Even from my distant vantage point the impressions in the concrete of the wooden frame were visible. 
I took this photo after recording the Featherwood stone tent, a historic farmhouse modified for military use.

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Fieldwork #PicOfTheDay: L43A1 blank cartridge

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RG L43A1 12 Surface find in recently ploughed field south of Herdlaw stone tent

The headstamp of this blank reads RG 12 L43A1.

RG refers to the producers, Radway Green, made in 2012.

It was exciting to find an artefact in a ploughed field – almost like a real archaeologist!

#PicOfTheDay: I’ve seen enough horror movies to know this is a Bad Idea

Yes, go into the isolated stone building with an eviscerated small creature on the doorstep. Everything will be fine!

Fieldwork: Round 2 with #QField & @FieldtripGB

After a couple of intense office-based months (good grief, where has the time gone…?) I am back doing more fieldwork in Northumberland.

As the OTA is being used for active training again, this time I am checking out features in the dry training area. I still check in with Range Control every day for safety reasons. Although the scariest thing I’ve encountered today was a big patch of nettles there is still the risk of coming across some military debris so Range Control just like to know where I am and make sure I get off site safely at the end of the day, which I really appreciate!

This fieldwork session sees a new data capture workflow based on advice from the incomparable Ed H., GIS officer of the NNPA. (Thanks Ed!).

I have purchased a second-hand tablet and installed QField, the mobile Android app version of QGIS, and the Fieldtrip GB app for data capture. I’ve also installed ViewRanger but haven’t tried it out yet. Brief thoughts after a full day of use:

  • The GPS precision is suitable for what I want without having to purchase an external bluetooth GPS sensor. Though I may consider doing that in the near future anyway.
  • QField lags a bit if I have too many layers in my shapefile. I made a highly curated mini-GIS just for today’s study area and even then I had too many layers. But surprisingly the OS .tif files I’d included also worked in QField without being modified with Geopackage! (Still working my way through forum advice on .tif format etc).
  • FieldtripGB is handy for data capture though it doesn’t have as much of a zoom as I’d like. The Authoring Tool is intuitive and keeps my notes focussed, so is a bit better than a notebook there. Having integrated photography and annotation and coordinate capture all at once is very helpful. AFAIK (so far) there isn’t the option to go back and edit a point once captured (at least, tapping on the icon doesn’t seem to do anything) so that’s a bit frustrating.
  • I’m new to tablets and touchscreen typing but it’s about as quick as using pen and paper so it will save me time in the office after fieldwork is over.
  • The test: the coordinates export easily from the Authoring Tool into a .csv which I can then import into QGIS as a delimited text file. The coordinates are in Lat Lon so I had to change the projection but everything is showing up in the right place. There are also some duplicates in the download which I need to sort out – I don’t know why this has happened.
  • Battery life is definitely an issue. I was worried about this so bought two powerbanks (one was a promo from Routledge publishing at the SPMA conference this April) and a 12V in-car charger. In a full day I drained the fully-charged tablet and both powerbanks. I bought a second-hand smart phone as well with both apps installed as backup, but I hope not to have to use that (I need enough charge to call Range Control and inform them when I’m leaving site, and in case of emergencies). I have also tried installing a power-saving app but when using the GPS I guess there’s only so much it can do.

Anyway, that’s my ramblings after a day using QField and FieldtripGB.

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Success! A sample of toay’s data capture, projected properly and appearing where it should. Huzzah!

The Woodland Heritage Festival 2016

I spent the Bank Holiday Monday joining in with the Woodland Heritage Festival. It’s an outreach day organised by Archaeology in the City (AitC). I’m generally more involved with the behind-the-scenes (social media and podcast) side of AitC but I really enjoy getting into big public events like the Festival. Last year, I focussed on recording presentations by archaeology PhD candidates and making them available as special episodes on the Archaeology and Ale podcast.

This year, as we decided not to run the talks programme again, I decided to create a family-friendly Landscape Archaeology activity. Almost every other research theme in the department had an activity, and as I’m the only full-time landscape archaeology PhD candidate who’s around and fool enough to volunteer for things (I think…. there may be someone in their writing-up year, but we’ve not met yet!), I thought I’d be remiss if I let my research field go unrepresented again.

Thus, the Landscape Archaeology Woodland Heritage Adventure treasure hunt was born…

Continue reading “The Woodland Heritage Festival 2016”

Fieldwork recap 9… #FindOfTheDay #archaeology #fieldwork

WARNING: I did my fieldwork on the OTA with the permission of Range Control, during the lambing break. The lambing break is now over and live firing has resumed. Do Not attempt to visit areas within the live firing area of the OTA. For information on how to safely visit the OTA and the byelaws you must follow, please start here.

Different types of para flares – canisters and spent flares and their chutes. Present in all survey areas. Small scale 20cm, large scale 50cm.

(c) Krissy Moore 2016 All Rights Reserved

I’m currently tracking down correct identification details for each of the artefacts I’m sharing as part of the Find Of The Day series, which will become part of my GIS database. For now I’m just sharing these pictures without further commentary, as a taste of the material culture of military training that I’ve encountered during my walkover survey.

Fieldwork recap 8… #FindOfTheDay #archaeology #fieldwork

WARNING: I did my fieldwork on the OTA with the permission of Range Control, during the lambing break. The lambing break is now over and live firing has resumed. Do Not attempt to visit areas within the live firing area of the OTA. For information on how to safely visit the OTA and the byelaws you must follow, please start here.

(c) Krissy Moore 2016 All Rights Reserved

“Archaeological area” signage and evidence of small arms round impact near Bushman’s Road

I’m currently tracking down correct identification details for each of the artefacts I’m sharing as part of the Find Of The Day series, which will become part of my GIS database. For now I’m just sharing these pictures without further commentary, as a taste of the material culture of military training that I’ve encountered during my walkover survey.

Fieldwork recap 7… #FindOfTheDay #fieldwork #archaeology #flashback

WARNING: I did my fieldwork on the OTA with the permission of Range Control, during the lambing break. The lambing break is now over and live firing has resumed. Do Not attempt to visit areas within the live firing area of the OTA. For information on how to safely visit the OTA and the byelaws you must follow, please start here.

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(c) Krissy Moore 2016 All Rights Reserved

Some more surface finds from the interior of the target railway…

I’m currently tracking down correct identification details for each of the artefacts I’m sharing as part of the Find Of The Day series, which will become part of my GIS database. For now I’m just sharing these pictures without further commentary, as a taste of the material culture of military training that I’ve encountered during my walkover survey.

Fieldwork recap 6: #archaeology #FindOfTheDay #fieldwork #flashback

WARNING: I did my fieldwork on the OTA with the permission of Range Control, during the lambing break. The lambing break is now over and live firing has resumed. Do Not attempt to visit areas within the live firing area of the OTA. For information on how to safely visit the OTA and the byelaws you must follow, please start here.

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(c) Krissy Moore 2016 all rights reserved

Yellow smoke signal grenade, scale 8cm

I’m currently tracking down correct identification details for each of the artefacts I’m sharing as part of the Find Of The Day series, which will become part of my GIS database. For now I’m just sharing these pictures without further commentary, as a taste of the material culture of military training that I’ve encountered during my walkover survey.

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