In 1803, Abraham Ogden wrote that he was going to "Brush Pile" the channel of Wood Creek
as was done in England. It is not clear whether he had seen these systems applied in England,
or had merely heard them described.
Certainly anyone who had traveled to England in that period, with an interest in the methods used
to improve river navigation, would have encountered the concept. This construction was called a
"kid-weir" in England, and is mentioned in records dating back as far as the year 1316. Generally it is
not unlike that described by Ogden for Wood Creek; bundles of twigs laid on the river bottom, saplings
woven across, and sharpened stakes driven through this mat into the river bed, securing
the whole in place.
The diagram at the left, based on several sites excavated by British archeologists,
illustrates the structure of an English kid-weir. Note the use of pins
stuck through holes in the tops of the long stakes to hold the brush mats in place.
Because of the great time depth of this technique in England, many more opportunities
for archeological preservation of these
structures occur, and the following pictures illustrate some of these. Until we find remains of Ogden's
brushpiling at Lock #4 in Wood Creek, we have to satisfy ourselves with these
images from across the Atlantic.
The photograph at right is of kid-weir excavated at Holme Pierrepont. A radiocarbon date
of AD 1445-1675 was obtained for the brush. The upper portion of the structure had rotted away, but the still
intact lower portion, buried some 170cms below the surface and 84cms below the water table,
reveals a pattern we might well expect for Ogden's brushpiled section of Wood Creek.
One can see the woven bundles of brush and the long split oak stakes driven into the mat from
above. Recalling Ogden's statement:
I would then cover this bottom so deep with long slim Brush about one foot thick
after which I would have Piles such as I could handily drive with a Commander say about six
inches through and four or five feet long... These Piles I would drive over the whole bed
of the Creek so covered with Brush at about three or four feet distance each way.
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