Site Code.

RINGMER12B Site identification Downsview Farm, Ringmer and address County, district East Sussex and / or borough O.S. grid ref. TQ473122 Geology. Clay Head, Gault Clay Project number. SNUFFLER1209 Fieldwork type. Geophysics, Test Pits Site type. Date of fieldwork. June-July 2012 Sponsor/client. Ringmer History Study Group Project manager. David Staveley Project supervisor. Period summary Project summary. (100 word max) Roman A magnetometer survey on the site of a Roman road at Downsview Farm, Ringmer

A Geophysical Survey at Downsview Farm, Ringmer
by David Staveley
Introduction This survey is the result of a search for a connecting Roman road between the Greensand Way at Barcombe and the Pevensey road at Arlington. A possible course was spotted at Downsview Farm on various Google Earth aerial photos. A magnetomer survey was undertaken with the Roman Study Group part of the Ringmer History Study Group, to see if the marks on the aerial photos were actually the course of the road. Three test pits were excavated targeting features on the survey results. Acknowledgements The author would like to thank the members of the Ringmer History Study Group for help on the day, and the landowners at Downsview Farm for allowing the survey to go ahead. Archaeological Background In previous decades, metal detectorists had some success finding coins near the survey area. The HER has the site of a Romano-British settlement on the site of the current farm buildings, whilst the field to the south (Field A) had apparently produced around 50 Roman coins and a Roman statue, though details of these finds are somewhat sketchy. Unfortunately, no more coins were found by metal detector survey over the course of the current excavations, so the exact location of any settlement remains elusive. The landowners mentioned that deep ploughing had hit stone somewhere in the south-east corner of field B. Methodology The magnetometer survey was undertaken using a GRAD601-2 using 40x40m grids, with lines spaced 1 metre apart and 4 readings per metre along the line, walking North-South. The data was processed using Snuffler with destripe and interpolation (from 1.0m x 0.25m to 0.5m x 0.25m) filters applied. The data is displayed with a clipping range of +/- 2 nT.

Positioning The grids were set out and recorded in metres using a total station on an arbitrary grid. Two resection points and the survey area are described in the table below. The location of these points are also shown on the interpretation image. Description Field A RS1: W side of hinge, N gatepost, N gate, E side of field RS2 : SW corner of wooden building NW of field G1 G2 G3 G4 Field B RS3: E side of N post of gate SW of gate SW corner of field RS4: W side of hinge, N gatepost, N gate, E side of field G5 G6 G7 G8 Excavations D1 D2 D3 302.5 425 467 555 593.5 509.5 514.16 800.64 700 700 500 500 294.51 345.08 460 500 500 460 562.62 597.55 500 500 300 300 633.58 505.01 500 620 620 540 Grid North Grid East

Results

Field A

Field B

Interpretation

Archaeology is shown in green. Geology in light blue. Modern features in light red. Uncertain features in purple. The Roman road surface shows clearly in both fields, despite being composed mainly of flint. A single piece of iron slag was found in the field, so the road may have been repaired with that material, especially at the western end of the survey in field A. The side ditches are only visible in some places, showing better in field B. They are roughly 20 metres apart, which is what was expected. A large number of what appeared to be pit features, mainly concentrated at the southern ends of both surveys, turned out to be geological in nature, leaving the location of the settlement that produced all the coins found unlocated. A small number of linear features, shown in purple towards the southern end of field A, may be archaeological in nature, but may also be the results of ploughing on the pockets of gley. The larger modern linear features running NE-SW in field A is a drainage ditch.

Overview

The course of the Roman road is shown as a dashed line. Its course is visible in field C and E on the 2006 Google Earth imagery, and in field D on the 2009 Google Earth Imagery. To the east of the survey area, a hedge follows the southern edge of the road for some distance, as it heads towards Laughton Place. Despite no metal detector finds during the course of the survey, roughly half a dozen pieces of Romano-British pottery was found at point F, where a ditch had been excavated between two fields. Excavations Three 1x1m test pits were dug targeting features on the results for field A. D1 and D2 targeted what looked to be pit features, but only a layer of grey clay was found. Given the waterlogged conditions in field A, these features are most likely to be gley, a strongly magnetic geology caused by the leaching of minerals into clay by the action of water. D3 targeted the road itself. A layer of downland flint was found 30cm down, though no iron slag was visible at this point. The same downland flint was found along the course of the road as it crossed field A, and in the ditch between fields A and B.