We use some essential cookies to make this website work.
We’d like to set additional cookies to understand how you use forestresearch.gov.uk, remember your settings and improve our services.
Preparing to search
Soil consists of particles capable of moving past each other and allowing larger scale migration, especially on slopes. The shear strength is a function of the friction created between adjacent particles that results in a resistance to such gravitational movements. A wet soil will have an increased volume that expands the spaces between particles thus reducing their friction and the soil shear strength.
The presence of roots significantly increases the resistance of soil to shearing by providing a lattice to support it. If trees are managed to reduce the risk of windthrow and associated archaeological damage, for example by coppicing, they can help to maintain the form of an earthwork. Tree removal and subsequent root death on a sloping site can increase the risk of soil erosion, creating problems in establishing an alternative vegetation cover. The removal of trees from raised earthworks such as banks or burial mounds can have an adverse effect on the stability of the remaining soil.
Where heavy machinery is used, the soil is at risk from compaction and erosion unless suitably protected. On some sites, erosion rates may increase in the short term following harvesting operations until a protective vegetation layer has reestablished. Any archaeological evidence at or close to the soil surface could be at risk of damage or displacement during such operations. However, much of this erosion is preventable with appropriate soil protection and the use of brash mats is now common practice during harvesting. These mats significantly reduce the compaction and rutting by distributing the load over a larger area of soil and should reduce the risks to any archaeological evidence present.
Ironically, it is arguable that the soil conditions resulting from compaction, (with impeded root penetration, reduced aeration and drainage), may create conditions that favour the preservation of any deeper buried archaeological remains. However, these properties would also inhibit vegetation establishment, leaving a bare soil susceptible to erosion.
Cookies are files saved on your phone, tablet or computer when you visit a website.
We use 3 types of cookie. You can choose which cookies you're happy for us to use.
These essential cookies do things like remember your progress through a form. They always need to be on.
We use Google Analytics to measure how you use the website so we can improve it based on user needs. Google Analytics sets cookies that store anonymised information about: how you got to the site the pages you visit on forestresearch.gov.uk and how long you spend on each page what you click on while you're visiting the site
Some forestresearch.gov.uk pages may contain content from other sites, like YouTube or Flickr, which may set their own cookies. These sites are sometimes called ‘third party’ services. This tells us how many people are seeing the content and whether it’s useful.