Lockerley - its past seen in the present. A brief note by Dr Paul Reilly (Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton).

The place that we call Lockerley is the sum of the  geology, sociology, agriculture and climate as much as the straight factual elements such that make claim to it as surveys, population census and archaeology reports.  The picturesque landscape embracing the village of Lockerley is imbued with memories. These memories are, actually, physical things. They persist as enduring material traces and residues still embedded in the fabric of our village and its surrounding fields and forests.  Left by people and other creatures who shared this space at one time or another, we often don’t recognise them for what they are, since they are frequently ephemeral and usually fragmentary. So, by no means a perfect lock hall ww2depot 01pcmemory. 

Fortunately, modern technologies can help us to encounter these rare and otherwise illusive memories which are, incidentally, sometimes also called our archaeological heritage.

Several of these technologies occasionally fly over the village capturing images and other data which we can access to help us reveal, and hopefully make better sense of, some interesting parts of the archaeological heritage of Lockerley.  
 
 Image 1 is a false colour plot from a LIDAR scan which reveals the persistent footprint of a WWII tank assembly depot (data courtesy of Environment Agency).

This striking piece of data art is derived from a LIDAR scan of the fields behind the village church. LIDAR is a form of radar which enables large scale, but extremely fine and detailed, surveys of the surface of these lands to be conducted quickly and relatively inexpensively from planes. Here the data have been digitally enhanced, coloured and illuminated using synthetic light-sources to bring out the footprint of a WWII US Army base that was a lynchpin of Operation Bolero, the American military build-up to the subsequent D-Day operations.  This depot, named after Lockerley Hall, was established to assemble tanks. Although the base was leveled more than half a century ago, and is now almost invisible on the ground, the image brings out the footprint of the depot’s buildings and the miles of railway tracks that once stood here. In its heyday, Glenn Miller and his band performed for the troops here. The hall constructed for this unique moment of history was not included in the surviving plan of the depot (which shows only what the engineers were ordered to build at its outset). However, its imprint and other forgotten additions might still be lurking in the data here.
 
lock lidar camp 01pcThe second image is a combined satellite and LIDAR imaging showing slight traces of Iron Age Lockerley (Data courtesy of Google and Environment Agency)

This second image also contains a ‘camp’. Lockerley Camp is marked on maps and is listed in the Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland. It’s thought to be the remains of an Iron Age settlement, that is to say Lockerley was already occupied somewhere in 600 year's period before the Romans arrived. Not much seems to survive. Generations of ploughmen have almost completely eroded away the banks and ditches that once stood here. Almost but not entirely! A Google satellite image has been made semi-transparent and digitally draped over another enhanced LIDAR survey. The combination of the two data sets clearly reveals the face shaped outline of this ancient place. It also show a dark linear feature, indicated in red, which might just possibly be the trace of an ancient track running from the ‘camp’ towards The Street. It may that the road leading into the little estate and up Pain Hill is considerably older than the asphalt surface might otherwise lead you to believe!

In appreciating an area nothing quite as good as the simplest technique - walking the patch.  Happy rambling and happy reading.  There is a short section of references set out but more would be appreciated.