Tape & Offset Survey

Hardy volunteers laying out tapes for a survey.

Tape and offset survey, which can also be called ‘baseline offset’ survey, is a ‘lo-tech’ approach to surveying archaeological features such as earthworks. It involves using a tape measure stretched across an area of the site to create a baseline. This is usually done on a cardinal alignment i.e. North-South or East-West. Another tape measure is then used to measure from the edge of archaeological features on the ground e.g. lumps and bumps, to this baseline. These measurements are taken at right angles and are then recorded on a sketch plan of the area or simply written down, ready to be drawn to scale on graph paper, in our case, in the warmth of Ian our project archaeologist’s study!

Laying out a grid for the Tape & Offset survey

A group of volunteers were trained up to undertake this survey in April 2019. They spent two days recording a number of features which looked full of potential.

The weather was a little variable it must be said, but by spending time looking closely at the landscape in our target area we began to see much more in terms of features. This allowed us to produce a plan of previously unrecorded features which we will be adding to the Derbyshire Historic Environment Record (HER). We were very pleased with the results and you can download the report on the survey prepared by Ian Parker Heath by clicking on the link below.

Tape & Offset Survey Report

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