Shire horse, archaeologist

A lovely big shire horse by the name of Major is doing the heavy work of preserving an 2000-year-old Iron Age fort in Wessex, England.

Park Hill Camp is basically two ditches and an embankment, but just because there are no remaining structures doesn’t mean there isn’t a great deal to be learned from the site.

Martin Papworth, the National Trust’s archaeologist for Wessex, said: “The roots of relatively young trees are digging into the important archaeology – the hill itself. The story of the generations of people who once lived within Park Hill’s ramparts survives as layers of evidence buried in the soil. We need to remove young and immature trees from the hillfort to protect this archaeological information.” [...]

Using Major negates the risk of churning up the ground by using heavy vehicles to pull the logs and fallen trees.

The timber Major drags offsite is either sold or used for fences and gate posts on the estate.

Best of all: the footpaths are open so anyone can go watch Major do his thing. Archaeology groupies take note. It’s not every day you get to see preservation at work, and not ever with a horse at the helm.

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Comment by Dina
2008-10-31 15:44:07

This is wonderful. Much more fun than the execution/torture post.
I sent it on to a farmer friend who taught us how to skid logs out of the woods using his mules. At Heifer Ranch, Arkansas.
I’d love to be at that dig! Ahh, so many digs, so few free plane tickets….

 
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