Research unearths secrets of Winsley's past

This Is Wiltshire: Bradford on Avon Museum trustee Roy Canham and archaeologist Sophie Hawke at Bearfield Farm, getting ready to uncover its ancient secrets Bradford on Avon Museum trustee Roy Canham and archaeologist Sophie Hawke at Bearfield Farm, getting ready to uncover its ancient secrets

A project carried out by Bradford on Avon Museum has revealed that a part of Winsley could have been abandoned hundreds of years ago.

The museum was given £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund last December to uncover details of ancient fields and settlements previously unrecorded.

The project, Ancient Landscapes of Bradford Hundred, began in January with an aerial survey of the ground from Winsley to the Avon Valley using LIDAR technology.

The airborne laser scan was able to look through woodland and get the exact measurements of the ground’s surface, producing anomalies that indicated archaeological features.

Museum trustee Roy Canham said: “We have some interesting results.

“We are seeing very early fields, maybe going back to the Bronze Age, which is just the sort of things we had hoped for.

“There is one patch on one side of the bypass at Winsley where features are coming through on the LIDAR which we don’t understand.

“One explanation of this is an early part of Winsley that has been abandoned.

“We could organise digging and will contact farmers and land owners so we can start to date the ancient fields.”

Over the year a team has been interpreting the scan, visiting the sites and plotting the findings on a map. Mr Canham added: “There were software applications that helped enhance the scan. The software has turned the raw data into a relief model of the surface.” An exhibition of findings will be on display in the meeting room at Bradford on Avon Library from November 23 to December 2.

Mr Canham wants people to volunteer with the project.

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