No 2: Investigative Archaeology

Investigative Archaeology!

An oxymoron or a contradiction!



the act or process of examining a crime, problem,statement, etc,. carefully,especially to discover the truth.

To quote the creator of Sherlock Holmes;

” Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

(Arthur Canon Doyle)


the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artefacts and other physical remains.

Archaeology is about analysing, which is to try and explain and understand what is in front of you.  Archaeology records factual data, then usually analyses that data against other analysed data,  developing   the existing  narrative by adding another   piece to the  5 pieces of the jigsaw already analysed.  The problem with this approach is  that the possibility arises that the jigsaw unknown to the analyst who  perhaps considers there are only  5 more missing pieces to be found,  actually has  500 pieces, and they only have the top right hand  corner of the jigsaw with blue sky and a seagull.   All the analysing in the world from this point on can only arrive at a  conclusion that the story is about sky and seagulls. Until somebody decides to look under the metaphorical sofa for any missing pieces of the jigsaw the analytical die is formed.

Investigating  in contrast starts at the beginning with a clean sheet without any assumptions or  narrative,  gathers evidence with a view to establishing  the facts,  or a further line of investigation.

For those reading this blog it  should be  apparent  that I subscribe to the view of investigating archaeology with a completely open mind.  I respect the views and interpretations of others, but they are their views, their interpretations and usually  the sum of  150 years of compound analysis, not necessarily anchored on a secure original footing.

By going back to the beginning and forming working theories based on  hard evidence, common sense and  logical thought,   rather than trying to fit in with the narrative of others, the investigations by the Mid Tees Research Project have achieved a modicum of success in locating a number of actual and probable  mainstream  military and civilian Roman sites   in the Tees Valley area in recent years

1 x Roman Villa

1 x Marching Camp

1  x Probable sub 100m x 100m Fort, Fortlet

4 x Possible sub 100m  x 100m Forts, Fortlets

1  x Probable small town ( Not ladder settlement)

I cannot emphasise enough If you are interested in  conducting original investigative archaeological research,  assume  nothing, be extremely cautious about embracing  established theories without question,   and I guarantee you will be  more productive in locating archaeological sites  wherevever you live. You will succeed because you will look in the areas already ruled out  of the historical narrative. If your research is sound,  your success is certain.