Looking back at last summer’s photographs of the landscape at Swallowcliffe Down, it appears to be an area with few passers-by, and initially looks rather remote. However, after spending the week there, we did meet quite a few people; the project created a variety of (all positive!) reactions from people passing by – there were those who knew we were coming, such as the very kind landowners who allowed us on their land, but we also seemed to surprise a few people. The area is actually quite popular with dog walkers, cyclists and people who are just generally enjoying the scenery. We met some very energetic people who were parascending and also runners for the local marathon (I’m sure also as energetic!). Probably at least once or twice a day we got rather curious looks, followed by the question ‘are you doing what they do on time team?’
One question we also got asked regularly was if we were going to ‘dig holes’? to which the answer was ‘no’, but many of the people who we talked to knew a bit about what ‘Geophysics’ or ‘Geofizz’ was and I think a lot of this knowledge is thanks to the effect of programmes such as ‘Time Team’. Programmes like this have led to an increase in the thirst for knowledge about archaeology, and public access to a plethora of projects demanded by the curiosity has arisen. This, coupled with the dissemination of updates, results and future plans for archaeological projects through the internet (especially social media such as this blog!) has made such investigations accessible to many people who may have been previously excluded.
This New Light on Old Sites Project still has many questions we wish to answer, but as we travel along our investigative journey, we would like to thank all of those who read our blog, stopped and had a chat with us, and asked questions about what we were doing on site. Watch this space for answers and updates on Swallowcliffe Down and future projects, we look forward to meeting more people, answering your questions, and thanking you for your interest in the archaeology and our work.