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Posts Tagged ‘deepmaps’

My posts are pretty non-existent at the moment, even slower than usual. I´m a bit overwhelmed at the moment hope to get back to more Abe and Ernst adventures and musings in the macro-macro world of tamworth timehikes soon. Meanwhile I´ll leave this post as a bundle of links about online maps and tools used in Tamworth Timehikes that can be used equally in other places in UK for having a deeper look at the landscape´s history.

Abe and Ernst taking time out from Timehikes

Some possible future and past routes around the area

Well first you´ve got online maps.co.uk. They´ve recently updated their site and have now got maps of the UK from around 1888 to the 1970´s including Soviet cold war maps! It´s got a nice map based search interface too. Staffordshire Past track has got a search map section with Yates 1775 Staffordshire map on scale 2(pretty much the earliest close-up survey of Staffordshire) On scale 1 you´ve got the 1899-1903 ordnance map on view. On vision of Britain through time website you´ve got the Ordnance Survey first Series from the 1830´s. An extremely valuable resource is the British Library´s effort to upload the 1780-1840 one inch to a mile ordnance drawings. They are  beautiful maps and extremely useful in Tamworth Timehikes. I first came across the 1815 map from a link from the Building history map links section. It’s a pretty exhaustive list of map sources and worth taking a look at. Historical aerial photography for free is sparse on the internet at least for England, the situations looks different for Scotland. I think it has something to do with the Old aerialphotogaphy site having the rights! What we do have though is of course Googlearth satellite imagery. One of the great things about Googlearth is that you can toggle the dates on the images, in the clock button at the top. So you can get different images in Tamworth´s case back to far away days of the late 90´s. This is really useful for checking out cropmarks etc. Bill on comments recently pointed out Flashearth, Microsofts satellite imagery platform. The images seem to have been taken at just or almost the right time of year for spotting historical cropmarks, soilmarks, etc, really useful. Geomatics group have the LIDAR images up on the web , LIDAR is amazing see through trees imaging technology that´s revolutioning  Landscape archaeology.  Apart from this, different societies, initiatives, blogs have uploaded old maps, tithe maps, photography depending on the area. So go ahead and do some intrepid exploring from the comfort of your chair. Who knows the lost city of Z could be right next to the local Tescos.

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Just a bit of explaining of the sub-heading ” landscape history voyeurism” before I get deeper into Wigginton park´s past.

All this as the title suggests has something of voyeurism about it. The obsession with uncovering the landscape, sneaking around has definitely got something of the perv about it. Even the action of  nosing around in places that are not commonly frequented, looking suspicious(make sure no mac is worn) or taking photos of apparent mundane objects has something voyeuristic about it. So maybe all those ´investigaters´ are just a bunch of voyeurs´!But I suppose    that you are  actually creating something which is positive at least for the person doing it, so onwards  to peek below the sensual curves of Wigginton Park.

The fact that the wigginton estate was created at the start of the 19th century and the fields were left to revert to grass means that it’s as if the area was covered in a green shroud,  preserving what´s underneath, and leaving suggestive shapes .Its unlike other areas that have been ploughed over and urbanised since the early 19th century. These suggestive shapes have led others to observe and think about what those shapes tell us. For example this letter from the herald pasted below.

Intrigued by a ‘lost palace’

Thursday, October 01, 2009, 14:20

WITH regards to the recent stories on Wigginton Park.

In the 70s when I played rugby at Tamworth, I used to see in the low sun of a winter’s afternoon some shapes in the grassed area opposite the entrance to the club.This intrigued me as I thought it looked like the remains of a ‘lost village’ or large building.I could find no map references, and nether could Birmingham University or the county archaeology department. My interest was heightened at this time because there was local discussion as to the whereabouts of Offa’s palace.

Now this site is unusually flat, and would have commanded a strategic position over the River Tame and the ford at Hopwas. Unfortunately the council built a BMX track over the site shortly after I raised my thoughts with them. However, with the advent of Internet access to satellite imagery you can just make out the patterns I saw back then. Perhaps with the interest in things Anglo Saxon, and the proposal to develop the site, an investigation may take place.

A. Smith

I think there’s a case for that medieval village Mr Smith mentions, as a key sign is there, possible evidence of a  medieval ridge and furrow system. Ridge and furrow is the name given to the regular humps and troughs that can sometimes be found on ancient fields and is the result of ploughing over a long period of time. This is usually a medieval practice although continued into early modern times. People owned these  different strips of land,which were continually ploughed.  this system was obliterated by Enclosure, of which modern fields and hedges are in a large part a result.

In the grassland of the park you can´t fail to notice the undulating landscape, especially in the lower areas of Wigginton Park.

It´s a perfect candidate for a preserved Medieval ridge and as mentioned above, the area is undisturbed post 1815  furrow system. Also the troughs and bumps are separated by more than 2 metres in line with characteristics for medieval ridge and farrow.

Above is an example from Nottinghamshire to compare

This above LIDAR image of Wigginton park  with ordnance map below it  shows the potential candidate, a ridge and furrow medieval field system, with at least 2 different fields.( the pit is the gravel pit mentioned in the previous post). Notice the way the rows  curve to the left towards  the end. Could this be a result of early middle ages practice of ploughing with large teams of oxen turning left along the headland, resulting in a twist to the left of each furrow. Anyway from other nearby  sites like Amington and Stanfold, where there are documented medieval RAF systems, the medieval village is never far away. So maybe Mr Smith,   was right all along.

The google image above  shown in previous post, with potential evidence of ridge and furrow systems(the arrows point to old remnant paths)

Finally going as deep as possible . From  looking at arch reports for area, there existed  an excavated roman site in the area,  probably a romano-briton farmstead or military post complete with a sandal some roman left behind, right next to Wigginton park, so it’s totally feasible to speculate that the area was farmed and inhabited in Roman times. It’s now underneath Lichfield Industrial estate together with those hapless agency workers.

This is updated information added after this post was published: Found out there´s a an initiative called friends of Wigginton park, started by a local school with a page on facebook, they´re going for green flag status, looking at the green flag awards I think there´s even potential for Green heritage site status.

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