Communicating the South Downs


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Archival Research

Whilst many of our volunteers battled with the elements out in the field verifying the archaeological lumps and bumps of the LiDAR data, an equally determined band of over 30 volunteers were delving deep within the archives to uncover the history behind the findings.

Archives are about people – both the researchers in the present, and the men and women who wrote or handled the documents in the past. It is the interplay of the present and the past that makes the study of documentary evidence so rewarding.

History generally comes from written and visual records; deeds, maps, grants, court records, wills, judgments, photographs, art work and other historical documents and records from the past. Many official documents reside in the county record offices and other state and family archives, which is where our volunteer researchers have spent many hours over the past year.

The stories that they have been developing have been rooted in the LiDAR findings and follow on from the archaeological narratives we have uncovered.

Flight Sergeant Sigurd Gerhardt Jenssen 129 (Mysore Squadron)

‘Place names: Shining a light on the past’ by Colin Wheeler

‘Here Miss! A look at school attendance in rural locations in the South Downs during the 19th century’ by Ali Mobbs

‘What’s in the box? A beginners first trip to the Record Office’ by Ali Mobbs

‘The Pits at Stansted Forest the mystery solved?’ by Mark Seaman

‘Medieval deer parks in the LiDAR study Area’ by James McInnes

‘Mapping the Sussex Landscape ‘by John Henderson

Gumber’s Bitter Harvest’ by Roger Green

Kingley Vale in WW11 by Mike Kallway

Stansted Estate – A Historical Jigsaw by Ted Herrington

The Great War – small snippets from the home front

LiDAR – the great archaeological detector! Extraordinary revelations at Goblestubbs Copse, Arundel!

Making sense of the data –  some theoretical considerations

The Canadian Army Battle Drill School Stansted Park 1942 by Brian Tompkinson

The Valdoe – the uses of an ancient West-Sussex woodland by James Searle

Many more research articles written by the project volunteers can be read in the Secrets of the High Woods project book, available to purchase for £10.00 from SDNPA, details can be found here South Downs Dramatic War-time Stories