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Why is Roman stuff buried, & Neolithic stuff not?
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suave harv
suave harv
704 posts

Why is Roman stuff buried, & Neolithic stuff not?
Oct 18, 2017, 11:33
I went to Wroxeter Roman City the other week. The portion that was excavated was under about three foot of dirt before excavation. I asked the guy from English Heritage why it got buried and he said "over time, dirt get blown over the remains, and foliage de-composes, and all kinds of things happen". Which is fair enough, but stone circles are loads older than Wroxeter, and they're not under three foot of dirt are they?

When you go to Wroxeter, there's some pillars that were the entrance to the town square. They're a good four feet below the surface of the field, in a trench. So does that mean there's Neolithic remains buried like that as well?

I can't get my head around the fact that several feet of soil would accumulate over something 2,000 years old, yet there's hundreds of stone circles twice as old still 'as they were',
common era
809 posts

Re: Why is Roman stuff buried, & Neolithic stuff not?
Oct 18, 2017, 11:56
I remember reading somewhere about how Callanish was only just poking above the peat until it was fully excavated (in the 19th Century maybe, or even later?) so it does happen. There's also quite a few cases in the Peak District of monuments being rediscovered when peat cutting has taken place, or heather burning. But your question is a good one, to which I have no useful answer. Bloody useless me.
suave harv
suave harv
704 posts

Re: Why is Roman stuff buried, & Neolithic stuff not?
Oct 18, 2017, 12:03
I've been to Callanish and there's peat everywhere. If you look at early postcards of the place you can even see the 'peat-line' on the stones. But it's the only stone circle I can think of that was buried. I know some Avebury stones were buried, but they were in trenches dug. But this Wroxeter, a whole city is three foot under the fields I Shropshire! (and it's still buried!).

If that kind of dirt and soil coverage is considered normal, then there must be *thousands* of stone circles covered up. Know what I mean?
suave harv
suave harv
704 posts

Re: Why is Roman stuff buried, & Neolithic stuff not?
Oct 18, 2017, 12:11
Here's a picture I took that shows the excavated Roman columns.

https://postimg.org/image/lvausa1kz/

They're a good three foot under the current surface. I initially thought they'd somehow sunk, but the EH guy assured me they're in their original spot.

After years of looking at remains that are 4,000 years old, and still at the same level as they where when erected, I can't understand where all that thousands of tonnes of soil on top of Wroxeter Roman city comes from. I must be missing something really obvious.
Monganaut
Monganaut
1728 posts

Edited Oct 18, 2017, 12:33
Re: Why is Roman stuff buried, & Neolithic stuff not?
Oct 18, 2017, 12:19
Didn't a Saxon settlement grow up in the remains of Wroxeter after it was a Roman town? I'm guessing, that cos' most saxon buildings were wood, mud and thatch, and depending how long it was occupied like this, I'm guessing the accumilation of delapidated buildings, parts of the site stones beind removed/ knocked down and being used elsewhere, parts being farmed, cattle/sheep/people etc. would have meant quite a lot of organic matter built up over time, and when it finally fell into tital disrepair, trees/shubs/nature takes over. It's only a matter of time till stuff gets 'submerged', esp under brambles. Also, don't underestimate 'worm action', those fuckers in sufficient numbers can move/disrupt tonnes of earth in no time. Chedworth villa was buried too, and I'm sure some of those Orcadian tombs have been found by accident when buried, so It's not just thr Roman stuff that 'disappears'.

Also, most organic (and sometime non organic) household refuse was dumped on fields as fertalizer during most periods of farming prior to 20th century, so ground levels on good farmland can raise substantially over time when it is mixed in to soil during ploughing.
suave harv
suave harv
704 posts

Re: Why is Roman stuff buried, & Neolithic stuff not?
Oct 18, 2017, 12:30
There was a settlement after the Romans left, yes. The Roman city though, stretches for acres and acres, and it's all buried under level fields (with locked gates and 'keep out' warnings to metal detectorists). It's just amazing to me that it could all have appeared over 2,000 years.
Actually, less than that. Wroxeter could have been occupied into the dark ages, so perhaps 1,200 years?
But anyway, given that settlements and worms and wind and dead trees and bushes can completely cover a city so deep, in a relatively short time, does that mean there are load and loads of megalithic monuments buried in the same way?
suave harv
suave harv
704 posts

Edited Oct 18, 2017, 12:39
Re: Why is Roman stuff buried, & Neolithic stuff not?
Oct 18, 2017, 12:32
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Monganaut
Monganaut
1728 posts

Re: Why is Roman stuff buried, & Neolithic stuff not?
Oct 18, 2017, 12:38
I'd say not, during most time periods, readily available stone would probably have been broken up and carted off and used in your local house/barn/field wall etc....

At Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey, there was apparently another whole tomb and a couple of portal stones nearby that were demolished over time, and used to build a field wall. Ditto Avebury, I believe I read that a fair amount of the sarsens were broken up and went to buildings etc...
suave harv
suave harv
704 posts

Re: Why is Roman stuff buried, & Neolithic stuff not?
Oct 18, 2017, 12:43
The same happened with Wroxeter. There's Roman pillars that form part of the church gates in the nearby modern village.
There's a few meters of dirt that's built up in Avebury's henge, but I'd expect that, in a ditch, over 4,000 years. But several feet over many acres in less than half that time?
Monganaut
Monganaut
1728 posts

Re: Why is Roman stuff buried, & Neolithic stuff not?
Oct 18, 2017, 15:08
As I said, the build up is probably down to people/farming. The area has probably been under plough and arable since the last settlers deserted it, wouldn't take an age to build up quite a humic layer. Times that by years, decades and centuries and there's yer answer.

If you garden, think of the compost produced by just mowing grass, let alone all the pruning of shrubs and trees, add to that all your veg and fruit peelings, brocken crockery and animal bones and it soon adds up. This year alone, my 120ft by 20ft garden has produced about 51 bin liners of garden waste alone that went to the green tip, and we're just one family, with a tiny plot with grass trees and shrubs, and without livestock or all the other trappings of farming. And that doesn't include what we keep to compost either. It all adds up.
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