The State of Large Earthwork Sites in the United Kingdom

By Jones, Kevin L. | Antiquity, June 1998 | Go to article overview

The State of Large Earthwork Sites in the United Kingdom


Jones, Kevin L., Antiquity


Introduction

The cumulative effects of minor damage to sites from broader environmental factors, including visitor pressure, will often go unrecognized. Management projects to recognize and prevent such damage have only recently been the subject of professional study and investigation. The ethics, principles, analysis and codification of such management are relatively few (Coles 1987; Berry & Brown 1994; 1995; Thorne 1990; Jones & Simpson 1995). This paper records the management practices at selected earthwork archaeological sites in the United Kingdom and comments on aspects that I think need review.

Throughout the world, earthworks are the among the most common types of field monument. Typical forms are mounds, platforms, ditches and banks revealing the plan of settlement sites (fortified or not) and ceremonial sites. Because they are usually constructed from unstable material and have steep sides, all earthworks are at risk from erosion. The plants that grow on the earthworks provide protection' from erosion. Any process that damages or destroys the protective plant cover, or disturbs the soil, is likely to be destructive to the earthwork. Enhancing the speed of establishment of vegetation, maintaining it in optimum condition and avoiding the need for repeated, costly intervention are the keys to effective site management.

Earthwork sites frequently occur in lowlands, where light grazing keeps them open and prominent in the landscape view but where they are continuously at risk from ploughing and damage from heavy stocking, particularly of cattle. Where they occur in uplands, woodlands or shrublands, the vegetative cover and light stocking reduce the potential for erosion, generally ensuring good surface condition.

The stabilization of earthworks is complicated by the nature of the soils from which they are made. Specifically, banks, because they comprise fill excavated from the bottom of ditches, tend to have the reverse of normal stratigraphy: the less fertile subsoils are at the surface. With greater capacity for drying out, banks therefore pose considerable problems for establishing a conserving site cover.

Definitions

* Maintenance is the continuous protective care of historic fabric or materials.

* Stabilization is the halting of decay or erosion, not allowing it to progress further.

* Repair, restoration and reconstruction are increasingly invasive phases of intervention in historic fabric.

* Restoration is returning the existing fabric of a place to a known earlier state by stripping away accretions or the making good of damage by the addition of genuine materials. With earthworks, the concept of restoration is most appropriately applied to repairing erosion scars by bringing in hard fill and topsoil. (Based on the Australian ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance.)

Background

In achieving the goal of archaeological site stabilization, the choices open to archaeologists are often driven by nature conservationists. Archaeologists tend to be in awe of this lobby (Lambrick 1985; Prior 1990; Berry & Brown 1995) which has had remarkable success in promoting the acquisition of large tracts of downland, including many representative and outstanding archaeological sites, in the southwest of England and elsewhere.

The overall land management goal has been defined as 'integrated conservation management' (Thackray et al. 1995). This may be no more than a catchphrase. At best, the archaeologist and nature conservationist have an association which is a 'logical outcome of their overwhelmingly common aim: the preservation of landscape' (Coles 1986: 36-7). In areas smaller than a landscape, there are potential and actual points of divergence between archaeological conservation and nature conservation - from woodlands to the fine details of pasture management.

An example is the management of endangered insects, frequently found in archaeological settings (Wells 1985; Kirby n. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The State of Large Earthwork Sites in the United Kingdom
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.