Combing the Mendips for historic treasures

PUBLISHED: 05:44 20 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:37 24 May 2010

A TEAM of archaeologists will begin a four year hunt for hidden treasures on the Mendip Hills soon. A dozen English Heritage specialists will use the latest aerial scanning technology as well as field surveys and other traditional archaeological technique

A TEAM of archaeologists will begin a four year hunt for hidden treasures on the Mendip Hills soon.A dozen English Heritage specialists will use the latest aerial scanning technology as well as field surveys and other traditional archaeological techniques to look for new finds.They will also be taking a fresh look at known sites, especially historic lead mines like the ones at Charterhouse near Cheddar where they hope to team up with local amateur archaeologists.Work will begin in the coming weeks with a complete aerial survey of the hills and groundwork in Burrington.The project will cost about £100,000 and will end up with an illustrated book of results aimed at a wide audience, as well as technical reports.English Heritage's senior archaeological investigator Mark Bowden said: "We are confident that there are rich finds to be had on the Mendips. We know there's lots of evidence there, it's an area with huge potential."What we learn there will also be of relevance to surrounding lowland areas which were connected to what was going on in the hills. We will be trying to identify previously unrecorded sites and revisit the well known sites with a fresh eye and re-evaluate and interpret what has been discovered in the past."We hope to achieve a more complete map of the archaeological remains of the Mendips. We will use aerial photos and ground scans, field surveys, maybe geo-physics and a small amount of excavation and we want to assist local amateur archaeologists by bringing in our own experts and equipment."We will be looking at remains from all periods, even up to the recent past."Examples of the things we hope to find include ritual monuments from the prehistoric period like barrows, Priddy Circles and henges."A certain number of enclosures have recently been discovered, possibly prehistoric or early medieval. We are hoping we might find more of these banks and ditches or get a clearer idea of how old they are and what their purpose was.

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