Thursday, 19 January 2012

Everyday archaeology by a Secret Playground

Near our home is a park area and playground I and Archaeologist Husband call a Secret Park since next to nobody seems to know about its existence. We only know about this playground because one of our neighbours, with a gentle cocker spaniel, found it while taking his dog out.

This park is next to a meadow, green fields and a cul-de-sac of a small estate and public footpaths run by and over it. The meadow and the footpaths are popular with people with dogs but we have not seen many children there. Except once when a family of seven was running around the playground.

Outside the main play area outside its fence is an old slide, which is embedded in a mound. It looks like a proper mound but it has a slide on top of it. I have tempted to think that it is a Bronze Age burial mound since it is circular in plan and convex in section with a little hump in the middle on the top. It even has a medium-sized block on the surface in its upper part. However, the location near a brook is not the most usual. The place is called Millfield Close so a postmedieval structure would be more likely.

Until recently the Heritage Gateway did not work properly for Anstey and there are still problems. The site still fails to give all sites for Anstey on display but if you can find a search term with less results you will get answers.

I did found a Bronze Age site in Anstey – either a medieval park boundary or a prehistoric triple ditch – but on Gynsill Lane on the other side of the Brook and A46. Sadly, my ‘mound’ seems to be postmedieval or later. Nevertheless, we still can enjoy some archaeology in the Secret Park since there are faint remains of ridge and furrow. If these or any mill remains are in the database, I could not check since post-medieval search gave too many results and an error occurred when I tried to see the 40 results.

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