Visit to Down Farm – Sunday 30th April

On Sunday 30th April, with threatening clouds to the south, 25 volunteers set off with Martin Green to explore the considerable archaeological resources of Down Farm and, when the rain did finally arrive, Martin’s museum collection. How many farms in the UK possess a linear cursus monument, long barrows, a variety of round barrows, funerary enclosures, henges, pits, banjo enclosures, settlement evidence for the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron ages, and, just to complete the picture, a Roman road and shrine or temple? It might be objected that one or two of these features actually lie just outside Martin farm, but certainly not outside Martin’s ken. The richness of the archaeology was only matched by the depth and scope of  Martin’s interpretation, informed by his intimate association with this, overwhelmingly ritual and funerary, landscape over several decades.Martin’s complementary knowledge about geology, ecology, flora and fauna, grazing regimes, etc.produced a day that could not fail to entrance any lover of the countryside or heritage. The museum and, not to be underestimated on a rainy day, additional facilities for eating and making hot drinks, etc. completed the picture. The museum contains an important collection of finds for all prehistoric and historic periods, including a collection of rural life and farm implements, some of which were still in use in Martin’s youth. The personal touch and commentary of the curator made that vital link between artefacts and the landscape that produced them.

 

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