Join the geophysics team!

Community Stadium logo_ArranWorking with City of York Council, York Archaeological Trust are looking to involve the local and broader community at every stage of the archaeological investigation of the Community Stadium site. In late February, work begins in earnest when we will be carrying out a detailed geophysical survey of the site and we’re looking for volunteers to join the geophysics team.

The site was first identified when earthworks were spotted in aerial photographs. To a keen eye these are clearly visible in the image below, aided considerably by the oblique winter sunlight.


Aerial view of the site, January 2015. Can you spot the corner of the fort? Courtesy of @watertowers

When the earthwork is highlighted, the corner of the camp is clearly visible, a remarkable survival which has lasted for almost two millennia! On the ground, these undulations are almost impossible to spot, yet from above, they leap out from the screen.

...and again with the earthworks highlighted.

…and again with the earthworks highlighted.

The aerial photography has allowed us to identify the site and hazard a guess as to the fort’s size and function. We can compare its form to other such camps in the region and start to piece together the story of the site; but this is just the beginning!

Even on temporary fortifications, the Roman legions would construct substantial defences. These banks, ditches and palisades can leave scars on the landscape that, if we’re lucky, can remain visible through the ages. What can only rarely be inferred from these wonderful photographs is what was happening inside the fort. There are countless potential features that could be found within a Roman camp; refuse pits, latrine trenches, post-holes, trackways, storage pits, ritual deposits (that old chestnut!) and many more. There could also be features that both pre-date and post-date the camp which have as yet gone un-noticed. This is where the geophysics team come in.

A community geophysics team on the North York Moors.

A community geophysics team on the North York Moors.

Using both resistivity and magnetometry, our team of volunteers will work alongside experienced professional staff to provide us with a sneak preview of what lies buried beneath the hallowed turf of the Huntington Stadium. The results of the survey will inform the upcoming excavation on areas of potential importance.

The geophysical survey will take place on the 23rd, 24th and 26th of February, with the possibility of some extra sessions to be announced at a later date. No experience is required to join the team, YAT staff will be on hand to offer guidance and instruction. Sensible clothes and sturdy footwear are recommended.

The South Ainsty Archaeology Society worked with YAT's community team to investigate a possible Templar site in Copmanthorpe.

The South Ainsty Archaeology Society worked with YAT’s community team to investigate a possible Templar site in Copmanthorpe.

This is a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills, make new contacts and to work alongside experienced archaeologists and geophysicists. Mainly it is an opportunity to help us make the very first new discoveries of what is shaping up to be a fascinating community project.

To join the team, contact

Spaces are limited, so get in touch ASAP.

Dig York Stadium begins here!

– Arran


4 thoughts on “Join the geophysics team!

    • Heavy, waterlogged clay is certainly not ideal for resistivity or magnetometry, the former in particular. However, high contrast features that are relatively close to the surface should certainly still show up. Also, as we’ll be going on to excavate the site, it will be an interesting exercise to compare the geophysics results with what we find in the ground – this will show exactly how much the soil conditions effect the outcome.
      – Arran


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