Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wyre Archaeology Does Eskham Farm

We’ve written about the unidentified (and, as yet, still unidentifiable) earthworks at Eskham Farm near Skitham before, but on June 20th 2007 Wyre Archaeology was invited (courtesy of John Bradshaw, the farm’s owner) to take a closer look. Which is exactly what we did, several members armed (as can be seen in the photograph below) with pegs and a tape measure whilst others scoured the site with metal detectors.
And our conclusions?
Well, after a quick assessment, Neil Thompson (chairman) decided that the earthworks were undoubtedly a brickfield; his theory based mainly on the smattering of burnt bricks found in one of the boggier sections.
Er…yes…far be it for us to argue with our chairman but a few broken bricks don’t actually make a brickfield, especially burnt ones. When bricks are first heated they don’t actually burn…otherwise every brick building in Britain would be blackened and scorched. On the other hand, buildings, such as the small cottage that once stood next to the earthworks and was recorded on the 1940s map of Eskham Farm drawn up by John Salisbury for the Over Wyre Journals, can burn quite easily.
That’s the thing about prehistoric archaeology; it’s usually covered by layers of modern rubble.
Anyhow, Neil has now had a rethink about his original statement (although probably not because of the huge list of arguments we had in store for him, it must be said). Which in some respects is a pity because now we’ve got nothing to write about.
Not to worry…how about another photograph instead? (We realise that most of you are only here for the photos, so here’s one of Farmer Bradshaw entertaining the troops?)

And another...just for the sake of it.

As for our own interpretation of what the earthworks might be, we don’t, as yet, know. They might be a collection of mediaeval house platforms. They might be a sunken Iron Age settlement similar to the one discovered near Stone Henge recently…in this instance connected to the three massive henges up the road at Nateby. Then again they might be something completely different. We just don’t know although, it should be mentioned, that a number of prehistoric finds have emerged from Eskham Farm over the years including, in 1959, an adze and two stone hammers, and on another occasion (the date of which we can’t currently recall) a Neolithic axe. A collection of round stone balls (possibly used for defensive purposes, possibly used with simple querns) were also discovered here along with pieces of flint and various other unidentified stone bits and pieces.
All in all it’s just as well really that Neil’s changed his mind and isn’t writing the place off as a brickfield any more.
Time for one last photograph we reckon.

Before we sign off, we would, of course, like to thank John Bradshaw and his family for their extremely warm welcome, their even warmer pot of tea and for an entertaining evening (despite the weather conditions) all round. Oh yes, and we'd like to remind visitors that the forum (to the best of our knowledge) after a certain amount of tampering is now open and available to unregistered users. The link is in the right hand side bar somewhere...


John said...

Well, I certainly hope you are going to reveal your findings to us in the near future... you know, maps with overlays, etc., as well as your plans to further investigate this mystery.

I look forward to seeing more on the subject! JOHN :0)

Brian Hughes said...


For once Michelle and I didn't record, write up, diagram...ise...etc. this particular site. We left that in the capable hands of Wyre Archaeology and just took a few photographs for this website instead. I'm sure that, as soon as Ken has completed the official diagram/report he'll let us have a copy and we'll paste it here in all of its glory.

Bwca said...

re "As for our own interpretation of what the earthworks might be, we don’t, as yet, know" ...

may I suggest that
'the journey is the destination'; and it looks like
'a good time was had by all'.

Fresh air and a common quest, or ... Five Go Mad In Dorset.
Whatever turns you on, and
Keep Up The Good Work !

Brian Hughes said...


If 'The journey is the Destination' then I can't help thinking that most of us are headless chickens on a short but ultimately pointless circular jaunt.

I'm not sure about 'Five Go Mad In Dorset'...more like 'Twenty-five have a nice cup of tea and a quiet ramble, followed by some of those know the sort...with pictures of cows on Lancashire.'

As for 'Whatever turns me on', that's perhaps best left between me and Flossy.

Now, don't forget to visit our new 'Forum' will you? (There's a link in the right hand column of the main page...somewhere.) I'll have the kettle on ready for you...