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The Past in the Pipeline - booklet

The Past in the Pipeline - booklet

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Published by Wessex Archaeology
In 1985 Esso Petroleum Company, Limited built the Midline Pipeline, to connect its refinery at Fawley, near Southampton, with another pipeline and oil terminals in the English Midlands. The line was needed to improve supplies of oil and petroleum products to the Midlands area. Constructing it was a challenging project, which involved digging a trench 130 miles (220 km) long.

At the planning stage Esso had to take many considerations into account. One of the most important was to minimise the impact of construction, not only on the communities, but also on the environment and national heritage of the live counties through which it passed.

After consultation with the local authorities involved, it became clear that the project offered a remarkable opportunity to carry out an archaeological study. This would not be the more familiar archaeological "dig", excavating an area where there was good reason to expect to find historic relics. Instead, this would be a case of "linear archaeology" - a " dig" crossing right through the English heartland, where unsuspected discoveries might be turned up during the construction work.

Esso agreed to engage Wessex Archaeology as consultants to the construction team. Members of WA would work with the team, monitor any artefacts found and record their positions for more detailed future investigation. If it became apparent that a new, archaeologically important site had been discovered, WA staff would be on hand to advise the best way to preserve this valuable heritage for the future.

As you will see in the pages that follow, this initiative proved to be extremely worthwhile. At least two important new archaeological sites were intercepted by the pipeline and many interesting artefacts were discovered.

There were of course long stretches where nothing significant was unearthed, but thanks to the high level of cooperation between the pipeline builders and the professional WA archaeologists, whenever ancient relics were discovered nothing went unrecorded or lost. Similarly, this co-operation and expertise enabled construction work to go ahead safely, efficiently and on schedule.

This booklet was produced in 1986.
In 1985 Esso Petroleum Company, Limited built the Midline Pipeline, to connect its refinery at Fawley, near Southampton, with another pipeline and oil terminals in the English Midlands. The line was needed to improve supplies of oil and petroleum products to the Midlands area. Constructing it was a challenging project, which involved digging a trench 130 miles (220 km) long.

At the planning stage Esso had to take many considerations into account. One of the most important was to minimise the impact of construction, not only on the communities, but also on the environment and national heritage of the live counties through which it passed.

After consultation with the local authorities involved, it became clear that the project offered a remarkable opportunity to carry out an archaeological study. This would not be the more familiar archaeological "dig", excavating an area where there was good reason to expect to find historic relics. Instead, this would be a case of "linear archaeology" - a " dig" crossing right through the English heartland, where unsuspected discoveries might be turned up during the construction work.

Esso agreed to engage Wessex Archaeology as consultants to the construction team. Members of WA would work with the team, monitor any artefacts found and record their positions for more detailed future investigation. If it became apparent that a new, archaeologically important site had been discovered, WA staff would be on hand to advise the best way to preserve this valuable heritage for the future.

As you will see in the pages that follow, this initiative proved to be extremely worthwhile. At least two important new archaeological sites were intercepted by the pipeline and many interesting artefacts were discovered.

There were of course long stretches where nothing significant was unearthed, but thanks to the high level of cooperation between the pipeline builders and the professional WA archaeologists, whenever ancient relics were discovered nothing went unrecorded or lost. Similarly, this co-operation and expertise enabled construction work to go ahead safely, efficiently and on schedule.

This booklet was produced in 1986.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Wessex Archaeology on Jan 11, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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04/01/2013

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