Ladybridge Farm: Excavation (Site Code lbf07 Intervention 03)
Written Scheme of Investigation
On the 16 th of January 2007 planning permission was granted for the extraction of gravel at Ladybridge Farm , Moor Lane, Nosterfield, North Yorkshire. As a condition of the permission a programme of archaeological works will be implemented in mitigation of the development. The scope of these works is outlined in the mitigation strategy submitted with the revised planning application (Timms 2006a, 2006b). The initial phase of fieldwork comprised a programme of total coverage fieldwalking. This commenced on the 2 nd of April 2007 and will be undertaken in phases. The first phases of intrusive investigation identified in the mitigation strategy comprises the excavation of the route of the haul road from Nosterfield Quarry to Ladybridge Farm, the initial area required on the eastern side of Moor Lane for the traffic splay (Area 1) and the area required for the construction of the temporary bund along the southern edge of the site (Area 2). This document serves as a written scheme of investigation for these works. Separate schemes will be produced for subsequent Areas.
Ladybridge Farm (NGR: SE 293 806) is located to the east of Nosterfield Quarry approximately 1km to the north of Thornborough Village. The site comprises a series of fairly flat arable fields bounded to the west by Moor Lane, south by the B6267 and the north by a large dyke (Ings Goit). The eastern edge of the site is bounded by a ditch and track. The whole site (45.7ha) was subject to a planning application which was refused in February 2006. A revised application area covering the northern two thirds of the Ladybridge site (30.9ha) has been submitted and approved. (Figure 1).
The site has been subject to extensive archaeological evaluation and investigation. In 2003 an archaeological evaluation comprising fieldwalking, geophysical survey, test pitting and machine trenching was undertaken by Field Archaeology Specialists (Garner-Lahire et al 2005). In October 2005 a second phase of archaeological trenching was undertaken by On Site Archaeology in response to concerns raised by English Heritage (EH) and North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC). The results of this work identified a thin scatter of early prehistoric features located on marginally higher ground in the southwest corner of Ladybridge Farm (Timms & Dickson 2005). The resulting topographical model indicated that the area to the northeast would have been wet and boggy and unsuitable for occupation, settlement and burial until the land was drained in the post medieval period. This characterisation of the site has been endorsed by NYCC and EH and the area of former wetland forms the basis of the revised extraction area.
The Areas of Investigation
The areas of investigation which are subject to this scheme comprise;
The Haul Road, Area 1, Area 2.
The Haul Road
The haul road runs from west to east for a distance of 760m from the current plant at Nosterfield Quarry, through fields to the south of Ladybridge farm and across Moor Lane to the revised extraction area (Figure 1). The western section (480m long) lies within the existing quarry. The eastern section (280m long) is routed along the southern field boundary of Phase 8 of the new permission and an adjacent field of pasture to the east before forming a road crossing at its junction with Moor Lane.
The haul road will comprise a single track 8 metres wide. Two passing places, 30m long and 18m wide (including the track) will be located at points shown in the eastern section. At its junction with Moor Lane the haul road will be splayed to a maximum width of 20m to fulfill highway specifications. In total the haul road will cover an area of 0.28ha.
The western section of the haul road will be constructed using gravel and cobbles extracted elsewhere on the site to provide a track.
The eastern section the haul road will be constructed by stripping topsoil and overburden down to natural gravel. The exposed surface will be modified and graded as necessary to provide a sufficient road for quarry traffic.
The construction of the eastern section of the haul road would have a detrimental impact to any archaeological deposits along its route. Consequently it is proposed to by preserve record any archaeological deposits and features in mitigation.
Area 1 and Area 2
Originally Area 1 and Area 2 were proposed as two separate investigations. In consultation with NYCC the excavation of Area 1 and Area 2 have been combined to enable enough material to be stripped to form the bund along the southern boundary of the site.
Area 1 measures approximately 95m by 70m and covers an area of 0.6ha.
Area 2 measures 185m by 150m and covers and area of 2.75ha.
Previous Archaeological Works Relating to the Haul Road, Area 1 and Area 2
The western section of the haul road lies within the boundary of the current quarry. This area was the subject of archaeological monitoring in 1996 and no archaeological features were identified.
The eastern section of the haul road passes through the current boundary of Nosterfield Quarry into Phase 8 of the new permission before traversing eastwards to Moor Lane. In 2005, a 50m x 25m trench (Trench D) was excavated in the southeastern corner of the Phase 8 field as part of the Additional Investigation carried out following the deferment of the original planning application (Timms & Dickson 2005). No archaeological deposits were recorded within the trench.
The nearest archaeological deposits to the line of the haul road were recorded during the 1996 watching brief on Nosterfield Quarry. These comprised a series of dispersed shallow pits containing Neolithic pottery and flint of which the nearest was located approximately 100m to the south of the proposed route.
The eastern section of the haul road runs through an area of high ground that would have been dry in the past. Although some distance from recorded archaeological deposits, this area falls within the area of archaeological potential that was defined in the previous investigations on the site.
No previous trenching has been carried out in Area 1. Two trenches (Intervention 29 and Intervention 30) were excavated in Area 2 as part of the 2003 and 2004 evaluation (Garner Lahire et al 2005). In Intervention 29 a sink hole (F21), a recent field boundary (F34) and two "pits" (F35, F36) were recorded. In Intervention 30 a single feature (F37) was excavated and recorded as a "pit". Whilst interpreted as pits at the time of the investigation it is clear that all three features are of natural origin with similar examples having since been excavated and identified on Nosterfield Quarry and later phases of work at Ladybridge Farm. A single struck flint was recovered from Area 2 during the first phase of fieldwalking on the site.
Both areas will be subject to gravel extraction. In mitigation the archaeological deposits will be preserved by record as proposed in the mitigation statement and specified in this document.
Sequence of Works
The archaeological investigation of the defined area will take place in the following sequence;
- Strip of the Haul Road
- Ploughing and fieldwalking of Area 1 and Area 2 (in accordance with approved
- scheme of works (Timms 2007))
- Topsoil Strip of Area 1 and Area 2
- Excavation of the Haul Road
- Excavation of Area 1
- Excavation of Area 2
The same methodology and sampling strategy will be employed for the excavation of the Haul Road, Area 1 and Area 2.
During the fieldwork a series of meetings will take place between representatives of MGA, NYCC and EH to monitor progress and review the results as part of an iterative process. The first meeting will take place following the strip of the haul road. It is proposed that a meeting will be held (if deemed necessary and appropriate by all parties) following the topsoil strip and completion of each excavation area. Additional meetings, on or off site, will be held where deemed necessary by all parties.
The extent of each area will be marked out by the client or the MGA using information provided by the client using a total station theodolite.
In each area of excavation, topsoil and overburden will be removed using a 360 ? excavator fitted with a toothless bucket working under the continuous supervision of an experienced archaeologist.
Spoil will be removed from the site by dump truck to stockpile locations identified by the quarry. Plant will not be permitted to track across stripped areas unless these have been declared clear of archaeological remains. Dump trucks will operate in defined and clearly marked haul routes that have either been declared clear of archaeological remains or where archaeological remains have been appropriately protected from damage.
Topsoil and modern overburden will be removed in a series of level spits down to the top of the first significant archaeological horizon.
Following the excavation of topsoil, each area will be defined and fenced off.
Prior to hand excavation of archaeological features the stripped area will be mapped using a total station theodolite to create a comprehensive pre-excavation plan of the site. This will be used to identify areas of potential, target resources and prioritise work.
Hand Excavation and Sampling Strategy
All features of whatever origin requiring clarification will be cleaned by hand and recorded in plan at an appropriate scale. In Area 1, Area 2 and along the route of the haul road all soil features will be investigated by hand in accordance with the following preliminary sampling strategy.
- Linear features Field boundaries/land divisions - 20% by length, recorded sections to include all terminals, intersections and other relationships. 100% excavation of selected lengths for finds recovery may subsequently be undertaken.
- Structural components -100% excavation, recorded sections to include all terminals, intersections and other relationships.
- Discrete features - Pits 100% excavation. Running sections to be employed where appropriate to ensure placed deposits are identified.
- Post-holes - 100% by number, recorded in half section.
- Horizontal deposits Layers/spreads/ stratified deposits - 100% excavation, recorded in running sections, half sections or on a grid system and excavated in spits, as appropriate.
- Tree throws -100% mapped with 20% excavated and recorded in half section.
- Swallow Holes - 100% excavated by number, recorded in half section. Appropriate environmental sampling undertaken (see below)
All archaeological features and deposits encountered during the mitigation works will be recorded using pro forma recording sheets and a continuous unique numbering system. Plans at appropriate scales will be prepared, showing the areas investigated and their relation to more permanent topographical features. The plans will show the location of contexts observed and recorded in the course of the investigation. Other plans, sections and elevations of archaeological features and deposits will be drawn as necessary at scales of 1:10, 1:20 and 1:50 as appropriate.
The spot height of all principal features and levels will be calculated in metres relative to Ordnance Datum, correct to two decimal places. Plans, sections and elevations will be annotated with spot heights as appropriate.
Photographs will be taken as necessary to produce a photographic record consisting of monochrome prints and colour transparencies. Digital images will be taken to support report preparation but will not replace archive standard material.
Environmental sampling will be undertaken in accordance with a sampling strategy produced by John Carrot of Palaeoecology Research Services Ltd (PRS) and is attached as Appendix 1. The sampling strategy has been produced in accordance with the latest guidelines (English Heritage 2002) and with reference to work previously undertaken on the site and in the wider area.
During site work additional advice will be sought from other specialists (see below) where necessary and appropriate. The Science Officer at English Heritage will be invited to attend any site meetings on that basis.
As part of the iterative process the environmental sampling strategy will be reviewed on the completion of Area 2. Any agreed changes will be documented and implemented in Area 3.
The methodology of excavating and sampling sink holes will be an iterative process. Sink holes on Ladybridge Farm will be initially assessed using the same strategy employed on Nosterfield Quarry in The Flasks as agreed by NYCC.
Where their provenance is not already known, a section will be excavated by hand to a safe working depth in order to record the sink holes profile and characterise its upper fills. From the resulting section the upper most layer of peat will be sampled, processed and appropriate material sent for AMS dating by PRS.
Sink holes which are demonstrated to contain peat in the upper horizon which is of a relatively late date (i.e. late in the human occupation of the wider area) will be prioritised for further sampling. Further sampling will comprise the extraction of a core or column of sediment from the sink hole by specialists form Durham University. Once removed from site the samples will be stored at Durham University pending further assessment and reporting. The level of further assessment and analysis on each sink hole will be determined in consultation with Dr Jim Innes (Durham University). The assessment reports generated from the sink holes will form part of the final publication of the site.
Once sampled the remaining fills of the sink holes will be excavated by machine under archaeological supervision. Every effort will be made to record the deposit profiles of these features safely to aid in the interpretation of the formation of the sediments.
Sink holes which are not considered to be of further potential will be excavated by machine under archaeological supervision following the completion of the Area.
Unexpected or Important Discoveries
It is not anticipated that archaeological deposits of a prehistoric date will be encountered during the fieldwork. In the unlikely event that important unexpected remains are found during the work the Heritage Unit at NYCC will be informed and invited to attend a site meeting to determine an appropriate course of action.
Samples for dating
A suitable specialist will make provision for archaeomagnetic dating of suitable deposits. Samples of suitable material will be retained for radiocarbon dating where contexts cannot be closely dated by artefactual or other means.
Objects relating to human exploitation of the area that are exposed in the course of excavation will be recovered or, where recovery is impracticable, recorded. All finds will be recorded by context and significant objects will be recorded in three dimensions. All recovered objects will be retained unless they are undoubtedly of modern or recent origin. The presence of modern objects will, however, be noted on context records. In these circumstances sufficient material will be retained to elucidate the date and function of the deposit from which it was recovered. Animal bone samples will be recovered by hand during excavation and processed as part of the finds assemblage. Animal bone recovered from bulk samples will also be retained for analysis.
All finds will be processed to current best practice. All artefacts will, as a minimum, be washed, counted, weighed and identified. Spot dating of finds will be undertaken during the course of the fieldwork in order to inform excavation strategy. Provision will be made for liaison with external finds specialists, including site visits, as appropriate.
Objects that require immediate conservation treatment to prevent deterioration will be treated according to guidelines laid down in First Aid for Finds (Watkinson and Neal, 1998). Full records will be made of any conservation treatment; these records will form part of the archive. Provision will be made for the on-site conservation of particularly fragile or unstable materials, including attendance by a specialist conservator, as appropriate. Specialist work on any metalwork, bone (including worked bone, human remains and other organic remains), industrial waste, ceramic material, glass and lithic material will be carried out as necessary. All metalwork will be X-rayed and stored in a stable condition along with other fragile and delicate material.
The project will be executed by staff and associates of Mike Griffiths and Associates Ltd. The field team will be lead by Antony Dickson (AD Archaeology).
Specialist advice will be sought where necessary from external specialists.
It is proposed to use the following specialist for the project;
Palaeoecology Research Services
Soil Science Consultants
Dissemination of Information
An ongoing account of the site works will be published in the form of a weekly diary on the Nosterfield website (Mike Griffiths and Associates). A copy of the diary will also be posted in the Visitors Centre at Nosterfield Quarry.
Health and Safety
All work will be undertaken within the terms of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Health and Safety Management Regulations 1992 and in accordance with the SCAUM (Standing Conference of Archaeological Unit Managers) health and safety manual Health and Safety in Field Archaeology (1997). Copies of Health and Safety Policies and Risk Assessments will be supplied to Tarmac Ltd. All archaeological fieldworkers will be required to possess a Contractor's Safety Passport (Extractives/Quarry Products/Mineral Processing) in line with current protocol of Tarmac Ltd.
Monitoring and Reporting - an Iterative Process,
In accordance with the Scheme of Archaeological Investigation and Publication (Timms 2007) the project will be reviewed at defined points. The first formal review point will be on completion of Area 2 and will involve an assessment of the results to date. The review will generate an interim report which as a minimum will contain;
- Map of soil features with provisional phasing and interpretation
- A brief descriptive account of the results
- A summary of the site archive
- Recommendations for any alteration to the current sampling strategy.
In accordance with the Scheme of Archaeological Investigation and Publication, if deemed necessary and appropriate a more thorough assessment report will be prepared which will also contain;
- Specialist assessment reports on finds or environmental deposits recovered during this phase
- Details of conservation and finds treatment
- Additional research
Copies of the interim or assessment report (as appropriate) will be sent to NYCC and EH. If deemed necessary a meeting will be held between NYCC, EH and MGA to discuss the results of the report and agree any changes to the sampling strategy for the next stage of work. The results of this meeting will be documented and any agreed changes to the sampling strategy will be implemented in the next phase of work.
Following the completion of Area 2 the interim report will made available online at the Nosterfield website. In addition specialist reports will be put in the public domain as they become available.
Reporting and Publication
On completion of Area 2 the results of this phase of investigation will be produced as an interim report as outline above. The final reporting and publication of the archaeological investigations at Ladybridge Farm will be undertaken following the completion of the whole fieldwork project as set out in Ladybridge Farm Scheme of Archaeological Investigation and Publication (Timms 2007).
On completion of the publication of the results the site archive will be deposited to the Bedale Museum. During the course of the project the archive will be stored at the premises of Mike Griffiths and Associates Ltd.
The archive will be stored and prepared to the standards set out in Management of Archaeological Projects (English Heritage 1991). The written archive will be prepared on clean, stable materials, and will be suitable for photocopying. The materials used will be of the standard recommended in Guidelines for the Preparation of Excavation Archives for Long-term Storage (Walker 1990). The archive will be prepared in accordance with procedures outlined in Standards in the Museum Care of Archaeological Collections (Museum and Galleries Commission, 1992) and in accordance with the requirements of Bedale Museum.
English Heritage, 1991. Management of Archaeological Projects. 2nd Edition
English Heritage, 2002. Environmental Archaeology: a guide to the theory and practice of methods, sampling and recovery to post-excavation.
Garner-Lahire, J, Spall, C & Toop, N. 2005. Archaeological Evaluation. Ladybridge Farm, Nosterfield, North Yorkshire. (FAS)
Griffiths, M. & Timms, S. 2005. An Archaeological Assessment of Nosterfield, Ladybridge and The Thornborough Plain. (MG&A)
Timms, S. & Dickson, A. 2005. Ladybridge Farm, Nosterfield. Report on an Archaeological Investigation. (MGA)
Timms, S.2006a. Ladybridge Farm, Nosterfield. Revised Planning Application, Supporting ArchaeologicalInformation. (MGA)
Timms, S.2006b. Ladybridge Farm Revised Planning Application Further Clarification (MGA)
Timms, S 2007 Ladybridge Farm Scheme of Archaeological Investigation and Publication
United Kingdom Institute for Conservation, 1990. Guidelines for the preparation of Excavation Archives for long-term storage.
Watkinson D, & Neal A V, 1998. First
Aid for Finds. United Kingdom Institute for Conservation and Rescue:
The British Archaeological Trust