Archaeological Survey at Cogges 29th June

June 2014
The significance of Cogges Manor Farm as a site of archaeological interest will be evident to visitors this week when archaeologists will be in action exploring the early history of the site. The farm will host a training week for postgraduate students studying for the MSc in Landscape Archaeology organised by Dr David Griffiths at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, with fieldwork from 29th June to 4th July. 
 
Although there has previously been extensive archaeological investigation of the 13th century Manor House and 17th century farm buildings, which are a Scheduled Ancient Monument, there is more uncertainty regarding the early history of the wider landscape. The original medieval manor ‘Cogges Castle’, reflected in the current timber play fort, was built before 1100 within a defensive moat close to the river Windrush. It is likely that a village accompanied the original manor, however the location of this settlement remains unknown. 
 
A preliminary survey conducted in summer 2013 by archaeologists from Oxford University suggested that the village, previously considered to have been located near the moat, might actually have stood on higher ground close to the existing Cogges or Newland housing estates. It is also possible that pre-medieval structures lie within the site, identification of which would improve understanding of the local landscape and the origins of Witney. 
 
Throughout the training week students will receive practical experience in a range of landscape methods including the use of geophysical instruments designed and manufactured by local company Bartington Instruments. Geophysical surveys involve the detection of differences in the magnetic properties of topsoil and subsoil caused by soil disturbance from the construction of features such as ditches, houses and kilns. The technique enables a detailed picture of area to be reconstructed without the requirement for surface disruption or excavation. Images may then be analysed in the context of the local landscape to identify specific areas for targeted research. 
 
Results from the surveys will be made available to visitors and local residents and will enrich understanding of this historical site and provide the basis for future education and learning opportunities. 
 
Follow on twitter  @CoggesWitney
 
Image: Cogges Geophysical Survey – May 2013 © OUDCE

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