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Title: An analysis of geophysical survey of the forts and extramural settlements of the Hadrianic frontier
Author: Biggins, John Alan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 6810
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2011
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Geophysical survey has taken place on the Northern Frontier since 1976. At that time the technique was exceptionally well-executed and produced perfectly acceptable results, albeit initially using dot-density plots. Later results in the mid-1990s used a much improved processing algorithm giving data sets comparable to those we view today. Despite the impressive results that emerged, wide-spread use of geophysical techniques was slow to gain acceptance within the wider archaeological community. The aim of this thesis is to demonstrate the contribution that geophysical survey makes to the knowledge and understanding of the state of preservation, extent and morphology of forts and their extramural settlements within the regional context of the Hadrianic Frontier, and to establish what general patterns emerge about the comparative structural and morphological aspects of forts and their civil settlements. The concept of the frontier and the current extent of knowledge together with the contribution of research agendas in introduced. This thesis then assesses the methodologies as used on the Frontier sites, which include not only magnetic, earth resistance survey and ground penetrating radar (GPR), but also ancillary and supportive techniques such as earthwork survey, aerial photographic survey and cartographic analysis. Particular attention is paid to data processing; an essential part of geophysical survey, too often underestimated by non-specialists. It is important to note that there is a considerable variability in aptitude amongst the users of geophysical equipment. This thesis argues for a particular approach to deriving high quality information from the raw data. The chapters following contain the site-specific analyses from geophysical survey at 20 forts and extramural settlements on the Frontier, that is to say Hadrian's Wall and the Stanegate, but also including outpost forts, western coastal forts and 'supply' forts. The author has conducted much of this work, but some information has been provided by fellow geophysicists. These surveys are discussed in some detail with enough background historical information or extracts from excavation reports to provide sufficient data to provide an understanding of the site, as some of the surveys have not yet been published and need to be assessed in context. The surveys are then comparatively analysed to determine any commonalties or differences in either forts or their associated settlements in terms of patterns, planning and spatial relationships. Other factors such as house types and residential patterns are examined and compared to the bath-houses, mansiones, fabricae, communal buildings, granaries and market spaces. Finally the cemeteries and their sometimes related field and agricultural systems within the extramural settlement are studied. The study finishes with an assessment of the successes and the problems and suggests a stratagem for future work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available