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A Geophysical Survey at Glastonbury Abbey
by Claire Stephens

Senior Archaeological Geophysicist and CAD manager at GSB Prospection


In 2009 GSB Prospection undertook a programme of geophysical survey in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey. The work formed part of a wider research project and had two main aims: to identify previously known Abbey remains, and if, possible, any responses that might represent excavation trenches, thereby assisting in their accurate mapping; and to provide new information on the surviving buried deposits within the whole of the Abbey precinct. Three techniques were employed: earth resistance, ground penetrating radar and magnetic gradiometry.

This presentation will provide an overview of the survey results and how the complex stratigraphy of the site has presented specific challenges in interpreting each data-set. The relative successes and failures (!) of the surveys will then be discussed: a number of known features (some quite substantial) have remained largely undetected; some hitherto unknown features have been identified; and finally, many of the known structures from various phases of the Abbey have been detected and accurately mapped.

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