Orford Ness: Recording The Street
21/03/2018 | Lara Band
This blog is to say a public thank you to all our wonderful Orford Ness volunteers!
On the weekend of the 10-11 March we began a Historic England Level 1 style record of all the buildings and building remains on Orford Ness on the coast of Suffolk: the first stage in enhancing the National Trust's HBSMR (Historic Buildings, Sites and Monuments Record) for this property. The survey was carried out with kind permission of the National Trust and with special access granted to certain areas - the public must stick to the defined visitor paths when they visit.
We concentrated our efforts on the area known as The Street, where many of the buildings and building remains date to the First World War: with the centeneray of the First World War almost at a close it was a fitting target for the first survey trip. In total, and using the CITiZAN app, we updated 47 existing records and added 47 new features and 116 new photographs, all viewable on CITiZAN's interactive map. I'm proud to report that this is a record in a CITiZAN training weekend. Unfortunately everyone was working so hard we have no photos of everyone working. If we manage to track one down we'll add it to this blog as our volunteers very much deserve to be recognised for all the work they put in!
Nb. photo added below...
A screenshot showing The Street, Orford Ness on CITiZAN's interactive map. The green dots are newly added features
Evidence for parquet flooring! Looking at the herringbone pattern left in bitumen
© Nadia Bartolini/Heritage Futures
We were joined for the weekend by Angus Wainwright, National Trust Archaeologist for the East of England. He shared with us his knowledge of the archaeology of the Ness, helped identify some of the more mysterious remains and even found a message in a bottle on Sunday's trip to monitor features along the shingle shelf, the scene of our first ever training weekend on Orford Ness. The message had been dropped in the sea in 24 February 2018, near The Hague, Holland and must have been brought to us by the chill winds of the Beast from the East.
Contemporary archaeology: the message in a bottle, found by NT archaeologist Angus Wainwright
One of the features on the shelf is the black and white ground marker that so intrigued us on our first visit and that can be seen in this Britain from Above image from 1951. It is now very nearly lost to the sea but we at least we have a record of it, including observations about its construction method materials. You can see the difference less than a year made by comparing a photograph taken during this last survey weekend and this digital 3D model, made from volunteers' photographs combined.
All that remains of the ground marker, March 2018
We were also joined by Nadia Bartolini and Caitlin De Silvey of the Arts and Heritage Research Council funded project Heritage Futures. CITiZAN is a Heritage Futures partner along with a diverse group of organisations including the National Trust, The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme and the Anthropology Institute of Minzu University of China. Through these partnerships Heritage Futures studies practices across a variety of different disciplines with the aim of developing an international framework for understanding the challenges in caring for heritage, in its broadest sense, and in the future.
Nadia has accompanied us on several trips now and has filmed CITiZAN staff and volunteers at Orford Ness. So signing off from this blog is Nadia's film Recording Loss which captures perfectly our feelings about the inevitability of losing heritage on the fast eroding shores of the Ness.