Ogbourne St Andrew Parish History Group

        Ogbourne St Andrew, Maisey & Rockley
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The unique early bronze age mound in the churchyard at Ogbourne St Andrew had suffered from many years of neglect and was very overgrown before a community clearance effort.  There were various suggestions: it was situated on an earlier Neolithic structure; it had been used as a motte and baliey castle; it had been the site of a windmill.  To investigate these claims, together with professional archaeologists, we have carried out a resistivity slice survey on this fascinating multi period site.  Since the mound is a Scheduled Monument, permission from Historic England was required.

Clearance of undergrowth:
The first phase of the project to clear many years of undergrowth and fallen trees was carried out in late 2018 by a small groups of volunteers working to cut the weeds and shrubs.   (see photo gallery - clearance)

Tree removal:

As a result of contact with Historic England to obtain advice on the subsequent maintenance of the barrow, it was placed on the "Monument at Risk Register", with a number of diseased and leaning trees creating a threat to the barrow.  An application to Historic England for grant funding to remove trees (see photo gallery - tree removal) and replant with grass was successful and the tree clearance was undertaken in July 2019.  March 2020 saw a "field walk" ( an almost forensic fingertip search of the barrow surface ) carried out by volunteers from the History Group, the Wiltshire Archaeological Field Group and members of Gloucester Archaeology.  In addition to removing a few artefacts the surface was carefully raked and prepared for grass seed planting.  Our thanks to all the volunteers who seemingly very much enjoyed the activity.  (see photo gallery - field walk).  The subsequent three years maintenace will be supported by Historic England.  To see the Field Walking Report click here

Resisitivity and topographical survey:

Most geophysical techniques are not practicable on this mound and the usually preferred resistivity technique will only penetrate 1/2 a metre or so.  However a linear multi-probe "slice" resistivity technique was used which reached at least 5metres into the mound.  A series of slices, avoiding the trees, enabled  a view of the barrow interior and underlying ground. Coupled with a topographical survey features have been identified and are the subject of a report which can be viewed here.  No evidence was found to substantiate the motte and bailey or windmill suggestions.  The bank which, intesects with the barrow, is unlikely to be neolithic and is almost certainly due to graveyard uplift.    (see photo gallery - survey)   

April 2022
copyright Ogbourne St Andrew History Group 2022
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