Geophysical survey reveals hidden Preston Park feature

Brighton Museum, the University of Brighton and Brighton & Hove Archaeological Society have completed a geophysical survey of Brighton’s Preston Park – and discovered a Second World War secret.

The survey, supported by the Friends of Preston Park, looked beneath the surface of the park to find signs of archaeological activity.

Brighton and Hove has a rich and complicated history that goes back thousands of years, into the Stone Age. Preston Park is situated in a valley bottom which has long been a natural communication route (the modern London Road follows the same route), and the surrounding area has links back to the medieval village and manor of Preston. Before that there are signs of occupation during the Romano-British period, with the foundations of a Roman villa uncovered in the Springfield Road area as early as 1876.

The Brighton team completed an initial survey in November 2015, with positive findings in the area close to the tennis courts. In March this year the University of Brighton’s geophysics team therefore returned to do a higher resolution survey of this area using a magnetometer, which measures changes of magnetism in the soil and is particularly good at locating metal and burnt/fired objects (such as bricks and other building materials).

Having processed the data from this new survey the team was due to share its findings with the public at Preston Manor, as part of the Preston Village Community Heritage Open Day last Saturday.

Jaime Kaminski

Jaime Kaminski

Dr Jaime Kaminski, from the university’s College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences, said: “The results are really encouraging. They show that, despite the extensive landscaping which has taken place in the park, some archaeological features seem to have survived.”

Andy Maxted, Curator of Archaeology at Brighton Museum, who helped lead the overall project, said: “We have identified a large rectangular feature, 18 metres by 40 metres, to the south of the Park’s Chalet Café and north of the tennis courts. Nothing is certain yet but we’re pretty sure that the feature is what remains of a Second World War water tank – built to test military vehicles.

Andy Maxted said: “These findings demonstrate technology’s potential for discovering hidden archaeology beneath Brighton & Hove’s green spaces. We would really like the opportunity to extend this project to other suitable areas within Brighton & Hove, as there is no doubt there is further archaeology to be found.”

Preston Park clock tower

Preston Park clock tower

Exploring our biodiversity refuge

biodiversity3 (2)Dr Chris Joyce was invited by the c-change team at the University to help celebrate International Biodiversity Day with a walk to Moulsecoomb’s very own biodiversity refuge, the Watts bank (near the Watts building).

Around 15 colleagues from across the university joined the walk during which Dr Joyce introduced the biodiversity of the University generally and Watts bank specifically, and also outlined how the bank is being managed to enhance its biodiversity value. The group then discussed the future of the bank and identified several birds and plant species found in the area.

You can find out more about the background to this, including an interview with Dr Joyce on the c-change site, here.

Laura’s ship comes in

University of Brighton masters student Laura Clemente Campos has landed an internship at Shoreham Port.

She will be producing an ecology plan for the port and her work will form part of her coursework for her masters in Environmental Assessment and Management.

Laura told the Shoreham Herald: “When the port gave me the opportunity to work for them I had a look around the site and was fascinated by how many environmental projects they had developed.

“I like the port’s vision for the future, especially the objectives established in the environmental policy. For an industrial working site they have a very positive attitude to prevent, reduce and compensate for any impact they may make.”

Laura graduated in 2012 from Valencia University with a degree in environmental sciences and then moved to the UK. She first worked as a scientist’s assistant in the National Water Quality Instrumentation System as part of the Environment Agency.

She said: “The masters at the University of Brighton has specialised my academic career and provided me with more technical and practical skills. I have acquired a high level in skills such as researching, critically analysing data, assessing data and reporting, at the same time as facing real cases and solving problems.

“The system was totally new for me, and it was hard at first, but I am learning and improving quite quickly, thus I enjoy a lot. I have faced so many challenges through this year but achieving them makes you grow up academically and professionally.

Laura Clemente Campos

“The masters provides a really good qualification and skills to start a professional career, and it gives you opportunities to practise what you learn, through placements or internships such as the one I am enjoying.”

Join us on a biodiversity walk

Biodiversity week logoSunday 22 May is International Day for Biological Diversity and to celebrate, the c-change campaign at uni have organised a bio-diversity walk on the Moulsecoombe campus with Professor Chris Joyce from our school at 12.30 on Monday 23 May.

Join Chris for a short lunchtime walk to look at and learn more about the work taking place to improve biodiversity on the Watts Bank. On the walk, you will learn about what wildlife are supported in the area, including slow worms, common lizards and a variety of birds and notable invertebrates.

Please meet in the quad outside the Cockcroft building (outside the Sports Centre entrance by the table tennis table), at 12.30 wearing sensible, flat shoes and appropriate clothing for the day’s weather.

c-change are also running a photo competition. To be in with a chance of winning a packet of British bee friendly wildflower seeds send the team a photo of local biodiversity that you spot over the next few days, via social media or email by 25 May. The best three pictures will be winners!

All pictures are welcome, whether it was snapped on your way into uni, when you’re out and about this weekend or in your own back garden! You could even send us a pic when you’re out on Watts Bank on Monday with Professor Chris Joyce!

Share your photos via:

  • Twitter: Tweet us tagging @_cchange_ and using #UoBbiodiversity
  • Facebook: Post your picture on our ‘University of Brighton c-change campaign’ wall
  • Email: Email your picture to c-change@brighton.ac.uk.

Bake Off at Brighton

SET Bake OffToday was the inaugural SET Bake Off for students and staff, judged by our university’s very own Vice Chancellor, Debra Humphris.

And what a success it was with lots of tempting treats to tingle our tastebuds.

Prizes went to:
Kirsty Smallbone for Best ‘Tastebud Tingler’ (staff)
Carol Bill for ‘Best Showstopper’ (staff)
Tom Marriott, student, Geology BSc (Hons) and Jacqueline Campbell, student, Earth & Ocean Science BSc (Hons); ‘Best Showstopper’ (student) AND Best ‘Tastebud Tingler’ (overall)

After the judging, slices of cake were sold off for charity. The charity, drawn at random from a number of suggestions by staff in the school office, is City Cat Shelter, undoubtedly Brighton’s number-one implement of cat welfare’s neutering programme.