Under the New Forest National Park Authority’s landscape scheme, Our Past, Our Future, which is supported by Heritage Lottery funding, Archaeovision took part in one of the first community days for their Rediscovering and Conserving Our Archaeological Heritage project. Under their landscape scheme, 21 projects will be delivered across four themes of work, which aim to better equip the New Forest to thrive through change and modern-day pressures. These themes are to restore lost landscapes; to developing forest skills; to discovering forest heritage and inspire a new generation; and to monitor and evaluate. Archaeovision will be used throughout this 5 year project providing work to uncover and conserve hidden, unknown and decaying heritage sites and archaeological features throughout the New Forest.
As part of the the Rediscovering Heritage project, community archaeology will play an important role and a programme of work, including surveys to locate new and existing sites and historic structures will be developed upon. One of the first stages of this programme was the introduction of heritage recording within a graveyard at Emery Down.
Monuments mark the final resting place of people whatever their origins and status. Their materials, design, craftsmanship and inscriptions provide a rich and irreplaceable repository of information that connects us with previous generations and their history. They continue to be objects of respect, but many monuments can also be neglected. Christ Church graveyard has now been been accurately mapped out, but the monument details still need to be recorded. This recording process began last weekend and will be continued by volunteers over the next few months. Many of the monuments contain legible writing, but some, through neglect and general deterioration have become illegible and their historical importance are lost.
Archaeovision were able to assist in this recording process by introducing Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) to the volunteers who attended. Having been one of the first to introduce the method to cultural heritage and archaeology, James provided an overview of RTI and captured a number of different gravestones. The work produced highlighted how valuable RTI is within the documentation process, and the inscriptions that were once illegible have now been legible, providing a greater resource within the overal documentation process. The results of the RTIs captured at Emery Down can be seen below. James will be involved in three more community days at Burley (17th Sept), Minstead (24th Sept) and Copythorne (1st Oct). If you are interested in learning more, or simple want to take part in the volunteer work then please email email@example.com for more details.
The results of the RTI survey, as well as the volunteer documentation project will provide a snapshot of the graveyard today, and will help define a management plan for the graveyard into the future, whilst identifying monuments that require conservation. All the data captured will be made publicly available, allowing residents or visitors to trace family members and their resting places, and local history groups to undertake research to discover more about the area’s past.
The following RTI examples, provide a before and after snapshot of the results collected and the text has been digitised for those who may find it hard to identify all of the features.
In loving memory of Albert Broomfield who died July 25th June 1916, aged 42 years
Day by day we all do miss him, words would fail our loss to tell, but in heaven we hope to meet him, never more to say farewell.
Louisa, beloved wife of the above, died Feb 16th 1951, aged 80 years.
In loving memory of Reuben Henry, the beloved son of Reuben and Mary Phillips, who died June 15th 1908; aged 21 years.
His end was peace
In Loving memory of our dear parents Thomas Taplin, died Dec 19th 1921, aged 69, and Sarah Taplin, died Sept 27th 1932, aged 77.
In thy presence is fulness of joy
Martha, the beloved daughter of Henry and Charlotte Veal, who died April 8th 1875. Aged 25 years.
And all wept and bewailed her; but he said, weep not, she is not dead, but sleepeth. Luke 8.52.
He gave, he calls them when he thinks it best, for them to come to him and take their rest.
In Loving memory of Emily Veal who died Aug 20th 1903, aged 76 years
Sleep on beloved; sleep and take thy rest; lay down thy head upon thy saviour’s breast; we love thee well, but Jesus loves thee best.
In Loving Memory of Samuel Whitehorn who died June 15th 1916 aged 49 years.
Also of Charles son of the above who was killed on Febry 4th 1916 whilst serving with the Hants Regiment in Egypt Aged 28 years
Lord, all-pitying, Jesus blest, Grant them Thine eternal rest