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An Archaeological Project

Community Geophysical Surveys

From this work, we were able to confirm the location of a number of priory walls which had previously been believed to have been demolished and lost to history. Two geophysical surveys were completed with a number of volunteers, using different types of equipment. The magnotometry survey picks up magnetism within the soil. Ancient activity, particularly burning, leaves magnetic traces that show up even today. The resistivity survey is where an electrical current is passed through the ground at regular points. Electrical resistance is affected by the presence of archaeological features. These surveys were done to assess the quantity and levels of preservation of buried archaeological features and structural remains, both intact and demolished. A total of 22 20m x 20m grids were surveyed across five separate areas.

A large number of anomalies were detected, the most notable of which were located in the churchyard and Priory Park. The anomalies which were detected in both of these localities appear to represent features which span several centuries of usage. The features were of a similar shape, size and alignment to the cell like features discovered in the Lenton Martinmas Fairground excavations. These deep and broad ditches, which seemed to form enclosures, were believed to date to the 11th or 12th centuries, and may have been directly associated with the early phases of the construction of the priory and potentially the fairground.  One of these enclosures may have been post dissolution, as the feature seems to run through the site of the Chapel of St Anthony which would have been partially demolished after the dissolution in 1536.

The general public, in association with the local historical society were presented with the geophysical results and were consulted as to what future work would take place, and how it would happen. Discussions with members of the local communities demonstrated an appetite for hands on activities. It is from this consultation that a Heritage Lottery grant was bid for and the Lenton Priory Project was born, but it would not have been possible without having had such extensive works completed over the past 80 years.