Site Code.

OVINGDEAN14
Site identification
Greenways, Ovingdean
and address
County, district
East Sussex
and / or borough
O.S. grid ref.
TQ355036
Geology.
Chalk
Project number. SNUFFLER1404
Fieldwork type.
Geophysics
Site type.
Date of fieldwork. 1999, December 2014
Sponsor/client.
Brighton & Hove Archaeological Society
Project manager. David Staveley
Project
supervisor.
Period summary

Medieval

Project summary.
Geophysics on the site of the medieval manor next to Ovingdean church
(100 word max)

A Geophysical Survey on the Site of Ovingdean
Medieval Manor
by David Staveley
Introduction
The site of Ovingdean Manor lies to the north-west of Ovingdean church and on the south-west side
of the valley. A substantial rectangular earthwork enclosure is still visible surrounding the site. An
early earth resistance survey by BHAS showed the main manor building and some of the
surrounding complex, which was then followed by an excavation by BHAS for a number of years
within the north-east part of the enclosure. This report covers the early earth resistance carried out
by BHAS and the magnetometry and GPR surveys carried out by the author in the south-west part
of the enclosure.
Acknowledgements
The author would like to thank the landowner and John Funnell for making this survey possible and
members of BHAS for helping out with the survey.
Methodology
The magnetometer survey was undertaken using a Bartington GRAD601-2 fluxgate gradiometer.
The 40 metre grids were laid out and lines spaced 1 metre apart were walked southeastnorthwestwest with 4 readings per metre along the line. The data was processed using Snuffler with
despike, destripe and interpolation filters applied. The data was displayed with a display boundary
of +/-4 nT.
The earth resistance survey was undertaken by BHAS in 1999 using a Geoscan RM15. 20 metre
grids were laid out with lines spaced 1 metre apart. The data was processed using Snuffler with
despike and interpolation filters applied.
The ground penetrating radar survey was undertaken with an Utsi Groundvue 3A 400Mhz ground
penetrating radar, using the same 40m grid as the magnetometry, but with lines 0.5m apart with
readings taken every ~3cm. The data was processed using ReflexW with static correction,
background removal, gain and bandpass filters applied. Finally, the data was resampled to 0.25m x
0.0625m.

Positioning
The survey area for the earth resistance is not recorded, but the results are placed here using the
churchyard wall and the position of the manor as excavated. The 40 metre grids were set out and
recorded 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 is also shown on the total station map
image.
Description

Grid North

Grid East

RS1: Outside break (east), middle of west end of field

522.19

447.67

RS2 : Inside north corner of field

422.49

587.46

A

480.50

511.43

B

483.02

471.54

C

542.89

475.37

D

540.38

515.24

Total Station Data

The above image contains total station data for the side. The text relates to the positioning table.
The church is visible to the south-east. The enclosure, extending out from the churchyard wall, is
shown as a black line. The 2014 survey area is shown in pink. 2008 excavations are shown in light
blue. 2009 excavations are shown in dark blue, with the outline of the manor building in red. 2014
excavations are shown in green.
Earth Resistance Results

Earth Resistance Results

Earth Resistance Results, Flattened

Earth Resistance Interpretation

Earth Resistance Interpretation. Low resistance is shown in dark blue. High resistance is shown in
mid blue with the manor building as light blue.
A) This is the main manor building, excavated in 2009. It is approximately 11.5m long and 7.5m
wide and surrounded by a halo of rubble. The excavated building was found to have an undercroft.
B) This sequence of low resistance patches represent a path entering though the break in the
enclosure to the south-west.
C) The L shape is the same building as shown on the radar. The oval high resistance response here
does not show on the radar.
D) A series of linear features here relate to the construction of the enclosure.
E) The high resistance feature here jutting out from the enclosure may represent the start of enother
enclosure,
F) A more substantial part of the enclosure against the churchyard wall.

Magnetometry Results

Magnetometry Results

Magnetometry Interpretation

Earth Resistance Interpretation. Red is modern. Green is probable archaeology. Purple is possible
archaeology.
The magnetic response is very poor, as expected for a chalk site. Vague linear features to the southwest relate to the enclosure and the entrance through it. Other linears to the south-east do not show
on earth resistance or GPR. The large red area to the north-west is the halo of a large water pipe.
The purple areas are difficult to interpret. The two in the middle may relate to the trackway going
through the site. The features to the north-east are the largest of a group of such features in that area.
They do not seem to have a particular form and have a sharp edge like a metal dipole, but as there is
no negative response to go with the positive, they don't seem to be metal. All that can be said it that
they seem to relate to the occupation in the area.

GPR Results

GPR Slice at 8.6ns (~43cm)

GPR Slice at 17ns (~85cm)

GPR Slice at 24ns (~120cm)

GPR Slice at 35ns (~175cm)

GPR Interpretation

GPR Interpretation. Non-archaeological features are shown in dark green. Orange-Brown are
archaeological features at different depths, with light being higher.
A) This is the water pipe that caused the strong response on the magnetometer survey.
B) This feature starts at around 75cm, further to the north-east than shown here and dives down
further to the south-west than is shown here. It is actually level, but the slope of the hill makes it
appear to be descending. It is a layer of natural flint within the chalk.
C) These two roughly circular features quite high up. They are probably of a later date than the rest
of the medieval features.
D) This building, approximately 11.5m x 6m seems to be a barn, open to the south-east. The back
wall to the north-west is higher than the other two and probably also acts as a revetment against the
earth bank. An intrusion of solid material further down within the building is not extensive enough
to be a floor and probably represents rubble from the walls.
E) This small circular building, approximately 5m across, is most likely a dovecote. It seems to be
attached to building D by some low walls.
F) These thin (0.5m) features appear very low down in the GPR sequence, which may be partly
down to the earth bank. They seem to be an exterior revetment to the enclosure, but with two
returns jutting out to the north-west. This may be the start of another enclosure similar to that seen
on the earth resistance results at point E.