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Hot and dry summer creates the perfect conditions to reveal local archaeological sites

16 August 2018

Archaeologists in Essex have been celebrating as the prolonged spell of hot and dry weather over the summer has helped to create the perfect conditions to reveal hidden archaeological sites.

Aerial archaeology has been carried out in Essex since the 1970s identifying new sites each year, a further 20 new archaeological sites have been recorded in the county for the first time this year. The Historic Environment team at Place Services uses aerial photography of cropmarks to uncover buried archaeological features such as ditches and walls. The exceptionally dry summer has created the perfect conditions as crop marks have been more visible.

Over the 2018 season, 14 hours of flying have taken place and highlights have included new details, showing for the first time, within the Scheduled Roman Temple at Great Chesterford. The lines of roads, possible temple, numerous pits and property boundaries within the Scheduled Roman Town of Great Chesterford also showed extremely well. A group of three large round barrows were revealed near Little Chesterford.  Elsewhere in the county particularly good parch-marks within Tilbury Fort reveal the location and layout of former buildings.

Councillor Simon Walsh, Essex County Council's Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “We are very privileged in Essex to have such a rich history. It's fascinating to see aerial photography revealing our hidden past."

Aerial archaeology in Essex is currently funded by Historic England (formerly English Heritage) and delivered by Place Services, a traded service of Essex County Council.