These pictures are of Dr D H Miles taking core samples from the heads in order to conduct a dendrochronological investigation into their date and provenance.
The heads were fashioned from oak, felled either in Wiltshire, Hampshire or Somerset (Bridge and Miles, 2005). Carving would have taken place whilst the wood was still green (freshly felled) and relatively soft. All the Romanesque grimaces would have been visible to the congregation below. Thankfully, these medieval works of art were saved from destruction by Valentine Leach during the restoration of St Johns Church, Devizes. The Devizes corbel heads have been dated by Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory to 1408-30.