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Ploughing

Ard marks have, remarkably, been identified in the East Meon Hundred – interrupted scores in the subsoil, occasionally in parallel, occasionally at right angles to each other and, less frequently, diagonally.

Roman Ard

Roman Ard

Experimental work carried out over a number of years at Butser Ancient Farm has led to the suggestion that more than one type of ard was used, and that the marks identified were produced using a rip ard rather than a regular ard (which is only capable of stirring the soil to a depth of 0.25m). The rip ard was a large hook similar to the Spanish ard still used today in the mountain region of Lugo province. The tip of the rip ard dug into the soil to a depth of 0.50m – far deeper than any type of ard; pulled by oxen, it locked under the weight of soil and roots, loosening roots and vegetation and preparing the ground for arable cultivation.