Walkover: Sunday 20th February

Chris Atkinson & Nicky Bean

During the two walkover sessions on Sunday 20th February the ECHS members covered the south and north-east facing slopes of Eaton Camp. Their job was to record (using a GPS and record sheets) earthworks relating to past quarrying of the site and its subsequent transformation into fruit orchards. The features they recorded related to terraces, up to 10m wide on the site of past quarrying.  One such terrace on the south-facing slope overlooking Cage Brook was later planted with fruit trees such as damsons and apples, measured roughly 500m.

Associated with the terracing was a network of track ways, part of which is still employed as the current public right of way.  These tracks traverse the slope and link each site of quarrying together, in places overuse of the largely terraced tracks has led to wear and the formation of hollow ways. The first artefact find was made as well.   A find was made – a single fragment of pottery of possible Iron Age date, its form and construction is similar to that of Malvernian Ware of the mid-late Iron Age. It had been exposed by badger-burrowing along the south-facing slope.

The survey also recorded the extent of erosion on the scheduled Iron Age Camp.  Following the abandonment of the quarries vegetation took over. Then, after the abandonment of the orchards as a manageable resource, root action has dislodged and exposed the underlying gravel geology of mixed sandstone and mudstone.  Burrowing animals, particularly badgers, have also contributed greatly to the erosion of the southern edge of the camp.

On Wednesday, walkover surveys will focus on the private property to which the project has been granted admission.

Chris Atkinson: Community Archaeologist, Herefordshire Archaeology catkinson@herefordshire.gov.uk

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