Archaeology is what is found beneath the soil and one way to see what may lie beneath is to look at the relief. In the past this has been a rather tedious task using traditional mapping techniques. However a new form of relief mapping became available only a decade ago, this is called LiDar (Light Detection And Ranging). An aeroplane flies above the land to be mapped and sends out thousands and thousands of laser beams that bounce back. Lots of electronics and software then go to make the maps. Below is the one made by the Unit for Landscape Modelling – Cambridge University (ULM) Click on image to get a bigger view and zoom in, it may take a few seconds to sharpen up.

LiDar map of the Wimpole parish

LiDar map of the Wimpole parish

Now the real wizardry here comes when you strip all the trees away to reveal the archaeological evidence beneath the woodland canopy. They did this by flying over the area in question during the winter, this allows some of the laser beams to penetrate the woodland canopy (won’t work in woods with evergreens) and then they strip out any laser beams that bounce back from the trees but not the ground, really clever stuff. So study this second image to spot the difference and find out what might be there in the woods.

Wimpole LiDar without the trees

Wimpole LiDar without the trees

To see other maps in the UK see this link to English Heritage

The two maps below were made with magnetometer and resistivity meters, both give different results. The Mag survey will pick up any distortions in the earth’s magnetic field, even ditches as you can see by the dark lines. On the other hand the Res survey (the second image with the overlay) uses the different electrical conductivity of what lies beneath, so those dark oblong patches have a very different conductivity to the rest of the soil. This is because they are old coprolite settling pits full of greensand. So now we know where they were digging up coprolites at Cobbs wood farm in the 19th century, a process which destroyed much of the previous archaeology.

Magnometer survey Cobbs wood farm

Magnetometer survey Cobbs wood farm

These surveys were carried out by Rheesearch.

Resitivity survey of Cobbs wood farm

resistivity survey of Cobbs wood farm

The magnetometer survey below was mapped by Peter Morris in 2006 and it covers quite a large section of the park. This one is in colour and you can see the old iron water pipes, parkland iron fences and the metal tree guards which are highly magnetic (blue) . The red its related to brickwork, paths, road, culverts etc. The yellow is mostly ridge and furrow and green is soil that has a more natural magnetic field.

Wimpole parkland magnetometer map by Peter Morris

Wimpole parkland magnetometer map by Peter Morris

Just north of the hall you can see a round bluish feature with a pink circle that was the old fountain in Kipps engraving below. This was excavated by CAFG , you can find information about their work at Wimpole via this link. Also if you go back to the LiDar surveys you can also see the outline of the old formal garden from 1700

The Kipp engraving 1705

The Kipp engraving 1705

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