I’m an archaeologist and, in July 2022, I had to carry out a walkover survey of land at Brumby Common West, just off Scotter Road, Scunthorpe, for a pre-excavation desk-based assessment.
When I got home, the latest FT had arrived, with a photo of the Scotter Road viaduct taken from the junction of Scotter Road and Brumby Wood Lane [FT421:43] – precisely where I’d got out of the taxi from Scunthorpe station a few hours before. Now, a couple of months later, FT423 included a story about an archaeologist who felt “impending gloom and dread” while digging on Brumby Common West and there’s a photo of the gate into the woods that I’d used when making the site visit [FT423:43]. Coincidence? Yes. Strange? Definitely!
I do a lot of walkover surveys, so I’m used to being alone in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t feel anything amiss during that site visit, other than the stench of decay from a dead deer in the edge of the wood. However, the background research for the site turned up 18th- and 19thcentury references to ghost lights in the marshes that were on Brumby Common West before the field drains were dug, while one of the prehistoric causeways across the Common terminated less than a mile away on the east bank of the Trent, at a place that was called ‘Boggard Hall’ on an 1822 OS surveyor’s plan. One 19th-century account described the Common as a very marshy area where “blown sand forms low hills and mounds and occurs in a labyrinth of irregular patches of swampy ground”. Not difficult to see how strange things might happen in such a desolate place.
Sheffield, South Yorkshire