University College London surveys Verulamium Park's Roman ruins

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News release: 10 July 2013

Roman archaeology lying beneath Verulamium Park is being mapped out by the University College London (UCL) in collaboration with Verulamium Museum and volunteers using geophysical technology.

Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles and the Mayor Cllr Annie Brewster
The work is being undertaken as part of a week-long course in archaeological geophysics for members of community heritage groups. Geophysics or �Geofizz� as labelled by Channel 4�s Time Team, enables archaeologists to survey and map subsurface archaeology without having to excavate.

The survey is part of a wider archaeological project being conducted by academics from the UCL in collaboration with local archaeological societies. They are surveying Iron Age and Roman Age sites around Hertfordshire. The project is being funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and is supported by St Albans City and District Council.

Dr Kris Lockyear from the Institute of Archaeology at the UCL, is leading the project. He said: �Verulamium Park is the biggest site we are surveying. We aim to build up a complete picture of the ancient Roman Town of Verulamium that was located here from c.25BC to c.450AD. We will not be doing any excavation work as part of this project.�

The images from the surveys are being posted online at http://hertsgeosurvey.wordpress.com/ along with a blog from Dr Lockyear.
 
The Mayor of St Albans City and District, Cllr Annie Brewster, visited the site on Tuesday to see how the work was progressing. She said: �As we are the largest of the four Cities in Britain that do not still sit on top of their original Roman site, the results of this cutting edge surveying will be ground breaking. I would like to thank Dr Lockyear and his colleagues and volunteers from groups such as St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society for conducting this exciting project in St Albans.�

There will be a temporary exhibition on survey results later in the year at Verulamium Museum in St Michael�s Street, St Albans.

Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles, Portfolio Holder for the Environment at St Albans City and District Council, said: �The Council is pleased to support this fascinating project that will provide more information about the Roman town of Verulamium. It is the first time that we will have a complete layout of the town other than that provided from aerial images and excavations that have been undertaken. The information will also help us to manage Verulamium Park.�

Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Councillor Annie Brewster

Contact for the Mayor�s office: 
Alison Orde, the Mayor�s Civic Officer 
Tel: 01727 819544 e-mail: mayoralty@stalbans.gov.uk

Councillor contact:
Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles, Portfolio Holder for Environment, St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819281

Contact for the media:
Amanda Wilkinson, 
Media and Internal Communications Officer 
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819317 
E-mail: amanda.wilkinson@stalbans.gov.uk 
www.stalbans.gov.uk

Notes:
The surveys include magnetometry, magnetic susceptibility, resistance, ground penetrating radar and aerial photography using an unmanned aerial drone.

Magnetometry is a geophysical survey technique used to define areas of past human activity by mapping variations and contrast in the magnetic properties of soil.

Photo caption:

Mapping out Roman archaeology using a four-probe magnetometer (above): The Mayor of St Albans City and District, Cllr Annie Brewster with Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles, Portfolio Holder for Environment at St Albans City and District Council 

Cllr Chichester-Miles, Dr Kris Lockyear and the Mayor Cllr Annie Brewster
Pictured with the four-probe magnetometer are left to right: Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles, Portfolio Holder for Environment at St Albans City and District Council, Dr Kris Lockyear from the Institute of Archaeology at the UCL and the Mayor of St Albans City and District, Cllr Annie Brewster