Sometimes I get asked to survey a bit further afield than my home county of Sussex. I will pop over the border to Kent, Surrey or Hampshire. Recently I was asked to do a survey in Yorkshire! Despite being a very long way, it seems odd for someone from the south coast to be asked to do a geophys survey so close to Bradford, but apparently my results from Chichester made me famous. I'm glad I did though, as the site is very interesting. My contribution is only a small part, as part of a larger project involving Petuaria Revisited, Elloughton cum Brough PFA, the Roman Roads Research Association, Hull University, Geophiz.biz and East Riding Archaeological Society.
At the site of a Roman period ferry crossing of the River Humber, grew a town by the name of Petuaria, progressing from a military fort to the civitas capital of the Parisi tribe. Most of the town is now covered by the modern town of Brough, leaving just the eastern side located under a playing field. Magnetometry and earth resistance have been done at the site, but these are somewhat limited by the depth of made ground used to level the site to make the current playing field. Enter myself, with a GPR, to try to get the depth required to find the most interesting features. Despite the rain, the results were good, as the grass was short, and the geology was sandy. Some features had already been excavated back in the 1930's, before the area was scheduled, but there were many gaps in the map that needed to be filled in.
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The eastern edge of the site is marked by a wall (pink) and associated ditch systems (purple), within which can be seen a number of building revealed by walls (light blue) and demolition rubble (dark green) aligned to a road system (light green). One building, at the western edge of the survey area is particularly large and has surviving floors (dark blue). The layout is certainly striking, but its function is not quite clear. The curving nature of part of this building possibly marks this as a theatre, which matches with a piece of reused inscription found nearby, but a forum, macellum or town house with courtyard are also possibilities.
The BBC have picked up the story in the local news, and I managed to make a television appearance. It would be nice to see the larger building excavated to work out its function, but that seems unlikely as the site is scheduled.