People of the Heath project kicks off with geophysical survey

After receiving funding earlier in the year from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the South Downs National Park Authority, work is beginning on the Heath Barrows project. Over the next four years, volunteers and archaeologists will excavate the barrows on Petersfield Heath to discover more about its history. The project will include a varied volunteer programme, new school and educational resources and tours and information available to the public. Towards the end of last month, lead archaeologists George Anelay and Stuart Needham, worked with a team of volunteers to carry out a geophysical survey on the central northern section of the Heath. This is the start of mapping the site and learning more about the barrows’ structure and how they were built.

The first excavations are due to start in September, and archaeologists hope to discover dating evidence to give an overview of how the barrows site evolved over time. After being excavated and fully recorded, any finds from the site will be housed with Hampshire County Museum Service and some objects will be loaned to Petersfield Museum for display.

Stuart Needham: “The Petersfield region has been neglected in prehistoric research and yet there are many surviving traces in the landscape here. Petersfield Heath barrow cemetery is remarkably dense and the barrow forms are also unusually varied for this area.”

Teams of volunteers will play a huge part in this project over the next four years. As well as assisting with the excavations, there will also be opportunities to help with further geophysical and topographical surveys, documentary research and working on our educational activities. There is still time to volunteer. If you are interested, contact us.