Many great things begin in a pub. This story is no different.
Working far away from where I live usually means another Premier Inn stay. Not this time. A training day in Devon means a night in my ancestral home (well, my parent’s house) and a beer with an old school friend. Talk meanders around often covered subjects until what he is doing tomorrow crops up. “I’m going to help survey a Bronze Age Cist on Dartmoor,” he said. Over another rather good best bitter, I learned that a Cist (or Kistvaen), is a stone lined burial chamber. They usually contain a clay pot filled with the ashes and are sometimes covered with a capstone. This recently discovered example, possibly with a retaining circle of stones has been much disturbed over the centuries. However, the site still has potential for the recovery of archaeological remains and environmental evidence. Although the site is a bit of a mess, with many of the stones not in their original positions, a survey is needed to record the stones in their current positions prior to any further action. Professional curiosity got the better of me and I asked about the equipment they were using. Plane Tables have given good service for many years. Things have moved on though. It was decided that we would drive as close as we were able to and then hike to site carrying something a little more up to date!
Leica’s GS16 GNSS antenna and CS20 running Captivate software made data capture both quick and accurate:
Two people dressed for the occasion! As it turned out, we managed to dodge the very heavy rain showers. Above left is Mike capturing data that will be used for the official National Park records. Above right is me in my natural role of Supervisor!
This photo shows the star of the moment; the Cist itself. We didn’t have time to record every stone.
Compare this photograph with our survey:
The equipment was accurate enough to allow us to measure each stone. The large stone in the middle with the 354.31 spot height is the cap stone. Captivate makes it easy to both survey each stone as a closed area and then edit the unwanted spot heights away in AutoCAD as you can export the text blocked to the survey point. Click on either and both the point and height text are selected.
As the earlier photograph shows, we didn’t get all of the stone positions. We captured enough data to show the general layout of the stones.
I enjoyed my visit to Dartmoor. It was very interesting using the latest data capture technology to position something that had lain in the same spot for 3000 years or so. I would like to thank Mike, Nigel and Tony for letting me assist.
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