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Archæological Evidence and 'Development'

Nature volume 140, page 764 (30 October 1937) | Download Citation

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Abstract

IT is unfortunately only too true that in many instances no private benefactor has been available, nor has public interest been sufficiently strong, to save relics of the past thought by many worthy of preservation, as the Wheathampstead site will be preserved. At the same time, land development and public improvement have not invariably run entirely counter to the interests of the archæologist. Not only have they brought to light antiquities of which the existence under the surface of the ground was unsuspected, but also on occasion they have made possible archæological investigations which other wise it would probably have been impossible to undertake. The exploration of so large a site as that recently excavated at Colchester would have been difficult, if not definitely impossible, had it not been carried out in conjunction with the making of the new road. It is, however, not only the destruction of antiquities that is to be feared. Among other dangers there is the possibility of serious confusion of evidence which may follow the removal of archæological material from one area to another. An instance in point is mentioned by Mr. S. E. Winbolt in a communication to The Times of October 22, in which he records the discovery of a Roman house in the course of widening a road at Wiggonholt near Pulborough. The soil from this site is being transported by lorry to Pulborough Causeway, two and a half miles away. The discovery was made on the site of cottages called Lickfold (cabbage patch) ; and in the soil have been found fragments of Roman pottery, Samian and Castor, the foot-ring of a large Samian bowl, and a complete upperstone of a disk quern, fourteen inches in diameter, as well as a mortarium of first- to second-century type. Mr. Winbolt points out that future excavation on the Causeway, which is being widened on both sides, might bring to light Roman material from the Wiggonholt site, which would lead to quite erroneous conclusions as to the relation of the Causeway to Stane Street. Local societies might well be at pains to record any such shifting of material from sites within their respective areas.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/140764b0

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