Monthly Archives: December 2013

Northumberland National Park Authority

I’m Krissy Moore and I’ve just joined the Northumberland National Park Authority as the Community Archaeologist. I’ve come a long way to get to Northumberland, I grew up in Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory, and studied archaeology at the Australian National University. After graduating in 2007, I worked in Aboriginal archaeological and cultural heritage management in New South Wales, I would go on surveys with local Aboriginal community representatives, and record their cultural insights along with any archaeological sites we might discover. In 2010, I took the opportunity to go on a two-year working holiday in the UK, and did as much archaeology work and volunteering as I could. I feel really passionate about archaeology and I applied to the University of Sheffield to undertake an MA in Landscape Archaeology, which I completed this September. I’m really excited to be starting with the National Park, and among other exciting projects part of my work will be to set up a new Young Archaeologists Club branch and working with the Altogether Archaeology project as well as supporting community archaeology groups and promoting the involvement of young people with archaeology and heritage in the National Park. or Facebook Page and Twitter feed @NorthumberlndNP

Newcastle University Projects

 Newcastle University Projects

– The Clayton Collection; an untapped resource

-The Roman Temples Project

Bronze Age combat: An experimental approach
Integrating historic landscape research and spatial planning to develop a sustainable cultural heritage management



The Clayton Collection; an untapped resource

The material displayed at the museum in Chesters, Northumberland was mainly collected by John Clayton between 1840 and 1890. He excavated at Chesters and at many other sites along Hadrian’s Wall, often buying land to save the Wall to advance its study. The collection ranges from inscriptions to dress accessories, jet items to weaponry and pottery to keys, including objects of stone, metal, bone, glass and ceramic. The current museum inventory has over 13, 000 records.

I am currently working part time on a PhD to look at this material. Clayton worked long before the advent of detailed contextual recording and mapping. Some of the records that he did produce have since been lost. This makes a detailed contextual analysis of artefacts within the collection difficult but it is still possible to learn a great deal from what survives. Methods of analysis and profiling, not to mention typologies, have been developed for various classes of artefacts, and these can be employed for the Clayton Collection. Case studies will be carried out on certain parts of the collection to look in further detail. These will include militaria, brooches, ironwork and the material from Chesters alone.

My first chapter has analysed the militaria– the small finds associated with the military. This has thrown up many issues in the definition of what is a military object. For example, cart fittings and harness could equally be used by civilians as by soldiers. However some items are simpler to assign to the military sphere and I will discuss two of these briefly. The Clayton Collection has thirteen crossbow brooches, of which eight are from Chesters. Now whilst this may not seem a huge number, six of these are of the ‘developed’ later type and South Shields is the only other Hadrian’s Wall site with more (nine). Crossbow brooches were worn as markers of status by military and official personnel, does the higher number at Chesters reflect the status of the soldiers stationed there perhaps?

Chesters also has an unusually high number of spear heads, 62 in fact. Compare this to the total of the Museum of Antiquities Collection (as was) of 18, and South Shields which has only four.  The unit based at Chesters for most of its use was the Ala II Asturia, a Spanish Cavalry unit. Although spears (of some form) were used by infantry, cavalrymen had a long spear (contus) as well as at least two javelins held in a quiver on their back. The high number of spear heads from Chesters could well indicate the frequent use of spears by the cavalry.

I am only half way through my PhD and so have much more to discover about the collection, but even with just this one case study I hope I have demonstrated the value of analysing these older collections.

Frances McIntosh. PhD student at Newcastle University and Curator of Roman Collections, English Heritage.

-The Roman Temples Project

Prof Ian Haynes and Tony Wilmott

To view a report on this project click here: CBA The Roman Temples Project.

Bronze Age combat: An experimental approach
Project Leader: Dr Andrea Dolfini (Newcastle University). Team: Rachel Crellin, Kate Anderson, Raphael Hermann and Jon Allison

To view a report on this project click here: Bronze Age combat CBA north.

Integrating historic landscape research and spatial planning to develop a sustainable cultural heritage management

Niels Dabaut, Sam Turner, Veerle Van Eetvelde

To view a report on this project click here: CBA_North_NielsDabaut.

The Coquetdale Community Archaeology Group 2014 Events

2014 Events:
Tuesday 28th January 7:30pm Small Hall, Thropton.

We will be reviewing the results of the 2013 season at the mill site at Barrowburn and the progress we’re making with the dig on the Hepden Burn. We’ll look ahead to 2014 and
outline plans for the year. Speakers will include Richard Carlton, John Nolan and David Jones.

February 12th 7:30pm Small Hall, Thropton.
Volunteers from the Blyth battery will talk about its history and refurbishment. The battery was
for coastal defence, built in 1916 to defend the port of Blyth and the submarine base there and
upgraded for World War 2.


Jules Brown of the North of England Civic Trust will talk to us about the challenges of
building conservation and the development of historic areas

Tuesday April 15th 7:30pm Small Hall Thropton.

With 2014 the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, Keith Maddison will be talking to us about the work he has done on trench systems in Belgium and France.

Thursday May 1st 7:30 Main Hall, Thropton.
The AGM, which will follow the usual format of some business, followed by a talk. This year the historian, hill walker and author, Chris Davies, will discuss the search for aviation accidents in
Northumberland and tell us the stories behind some of them. Refreshments will be provided.

Gateshead Local History Society

Gateshead Local History Society

Programme of meetings June 2013 to July 2014, downloadable here: Programme 2013-2014
Meet at Gateshead Library at 7.00pm

For further Information contact us on: 0191 3407645
Or visit our website:


Great North Museum: Hancock Library

Great North Museum: Hancock Library by Ian Bower


The Great North Museum: Hancock Library provides a rich and diverse collection of archaeological material for anyone interested in this subject who is based in the North East of England.

The Library is open to anyone and is free to use on a reference basis. It is located on the second floor of the Great North Museum: Hancock and is open  Monday  – Friday from 10.00 – 4.00 in University term time, and  from 1.00 – 4.00 during the vacations.

The Library contains the collection of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle Upon Tyne, the oldest society of this type in the UK. It contains 7800 books, 300 journal titles and 1700 tracts with books and periodicals dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries

The subjects covered include local history, archaeology and architecture. Incorporated within this is material on Roman Britain and the Roman frontier in the North East, the history and archaeology of Hadrian’s Wall and Greek and Roman coinage.

The collection also includes a full set of both the Society’s Proceedings and Archaeologia  Aeliana, it’s learned journal. These periodicals contain a wealth of articles and information on the history and archaeology of the northern region.

Newcastle University’s Cowen Library which is the collection of the School of History, Classics and and Archaeology is also located in the Great North Museum: Hancock Library.

The Cowen Library includes 7300 books and 200 journal titles with the earliest book in the collection being published in 1709. The subjects covered include archaeology, ancient history and classics, Roman Britain, including social and military history. Local archaeology, archaeological methodology, the history and archaeology of the Mediterranean and the Byzantine Empire are also available.

If you haven’t already visited us we’d be delighted to see you and help you with any queries that you have.

For further information please visit the library website at

If you have any enquiries please send them to

Heritage and Science: Working Together in the CARE of Rock Art

Heritage and Science: Working Together in the CARE of Rock Art
A Rock Art Project by Newcastle University and Queen’s University Belfast by Peter Lewis, Newcastle University

The project aims to coproduce a tool kit and management guide that will enable experts and non-experts alike to monitor the condition of open-air rock art or rock carvings, and implement simple management techniques to aid with their long term preservation. The guide is being developed in light of our on-going scientific analysis of the causes of rock art decay. Our initial results suggest that the rate of decay of rock art has increased rapidly over the last several decades.

This work may also be applicable to other open-air natural stone monuments in your area, so all contributions are welcome, even if as yet there is no known rock art in your region.

Both the toolkit and management guide are being coproduced with heritage professionals (like yourselves), end users (land owners, farmers etc.), rock art enthusiasts and non-experts (volunteers) in order to ensure they are practical, usable and straightforward.

With a successful adoption the data will be collected from rock art sites across the UK by a wide variety of people including landowners and the public.

As with most heritage conservation strategies, it is vital to have the buy in from Local Government Archaeology Officers.  We would like to open a discussion on how the to organise/implement the transfer and keeping of condition data collected through using the toolkit. To this end, we have created a discussion forum. This is hosted on a secure LGA website and some of you may already be registered on the site. It is quick and simple to register and find the group (by searching “rock art”). It can also be found at the following URL:

We are going to focus our efforts particularly on this collaboration over the next six months with regular updates and information. Please join the discussion!

Initially we would like to start a discussion on the following points:

1. Do you currently provide any guidance to managers/owners of open-air rock art? Or have suggestions on guidance, such as a “dos and don’ts” list?
2. Is there any feedback you would give on the toolkit and management guide outline?
3. Would your organisation, or the HER if you are a Local Government Archaeology Officer, be the best people to store the toolkit data? If no, who would you suggest as an alternate keeper of this information?
4. How do you think you would use and distribute the final resources when they are released in January 2014?

Please respond to these at the above URL.

Both your initial feedback and subsequent contributions on the discussion board
are greatly appreciated and necessary for the success of this project.

Please email or visit if you are interested in further

Discovering Derventio

The Discovering Derventio community archaeology project.

The Discovering Derventio project will run for three and a half years from July 2012 to the end of 2015. The strategic project aims are:

-To engage the local community of the Papcastle and Cockermouth area in archaeological survey and excavation around the Roman site of Derventio and along the Derwent valley.

-To cater for all ages and elements of the community and foster a spirit of shared discovery throughout the project.

-To increase understanding of the nature and extent of the Roman settlement in and around the Derwent valley extending from the Roman fort of Derventio at Papcastle.

– Look for evidence of river crossing point, bath house, extent of civilian occupation, cemetery and road network. Achieved through geophysical survey (proven to be an appropriate technique in 2010) and targeted community excavation.

-To investigate the history of human occupation and activity along the banks of the river Derwent near Cockermouth and to increase our knowledge of how people have used the flood plain in the past 2000 years.

– To display the project results and a selection of artefacts in the town of Cockermouth.

– Contribute to the archaeological knowledge by linking to the North West Research Framework, which indicates a need for further research into the development of civilian settlements (vici) associated with Roman forts.

-To build upon the legacy of the Bassenthwaite Reflections Unlocking Hidden Heritage project and the enthusiasm of the community, landowners and authorities during the project development phase.

– Build upon the opportunity presented by the initial post-flood archaeological discoveries to engage all ages and elements of the community in archaeological research.


016973 21516



The WallQuest Community Archaeology Programme involves local communities and volunteers in research and excavations along the eastern sector of Hadrian’s Wall. Look at the website for details on how to sign up, the projects and what has been found.



A frontier in transition at Vindolanda by Director of Excavations at Vindolanda,                    Dr Andrew Birley

On the 1st of April in 2013 the Vindolanda Trust started its most ambitious and challenging series of excavations to date, a five year research project under the title of ‘frontiers in transition’. Over the course of its five years, the project will have provided over 2500 opportunities for volunteers to become directly involved in archaeological field work, gaining first-hand experience of the archaeology and history of the world heritage site, as well as places for those who don’t want to directly get their hands dirty in the Northumbrian mud. As the Andrew Birley, the Director of excavations at Vindolanda put it ‘the people who come along and take part on the Vindolanda excavations don’t make up the numbers, they are here to engage with and be an active part of the unfolding story of the history of the site. Frontiers in transition is aimed at unravelling seven centuries of occupation, but more than that, it looks at untangling the potentially disparate experiences of frontier life over such a great amount of time. Vindolanda was not home to one community, it was home to many communities and through this project we aim to let them all have their voice.’

Canadian Field School

The project involves excavations in three areas; the south-eastern quadrant of the last stone fort, deep excavations below the 3rd century vicus and a widening of the exploratory work in the field to the north of the Stanegate road where two new Roman forts have recently been discovered. The first of which may pre-date all of the other Roman remains at Vindolanda.

After the first successful year in 2013, which focused on the post-Roman and late Roman remains within the last stone forts, 2014 will widen out to look at all three areas, starting from the 7th of April and running five days a week until the 20th of September. As usual, the website opened up on the 1st of November this year to take bookings for the excavations in 2014, and 500 places were fully booked in under 20 minutes. This shows both the popularity of Vindolanda but also the great enthusiasm that remains for people to actively take part and become involved in field work on the northern frontier of Roman Britain. Of course, not everyone is able to excavate, or indeed wants to excavate, and as a response the Vindolanda Trust is widening its access through a series of excellent post-excavation courses and training, from archaeological illustration to photography and Roman cookery. This gives people the chance to engage with the work in many different ways and to get the benefit of the research that is taking place at Vindolanda.

For more information about the most recent Vindolanda research project and a complete list of archaeological related courses being run at Vindolanda next year check out the website for regular updates.

Lake District Archaeology Volunteer Network

Articles by Holly-Beavitt Pike of Lake District National Park.


Reflections on History Phase 3

This year saw the completion of the Reflections on History project which is part of the Windermere Reflections programme currently being run by a partnership headed by the Environment Agency.  Windermere Reflections is a 3 year Heritage Lottery (HLF) funded community programme comprising 19 projects which address a range of issues from water quality to historic environment. Reflections on History has been jointly run by archaeological staff from the LDNPA and National Trust and has provided opportunities for local people to take part in archaeological survey and investigation of the industrial heritage of the Windermere area. This included examining the themes of woodland, water power and rocks and minerals. The first two phases were completed in 2011 and 2012 and phase three was completed this April with an examination of the archaeology of mines and quarries. Four sites were chosen for survey and investigation. These were Banks Quarry – a redundant slate quarry located in the Langdale Valley, Greenhead Gill Mine – the remains of a 16th century lead mine located near to Grasmere and the Fairfield and Providence Mines – both of which are iron mines said to have been worked c1700, also located in Grasmere.


Volunteers Day

On Saturday 8 June a group of about 15 volunteers joined John Hodgson and Kasia Litwa at Hartsop Hall farm for a guided walk which was a part of the Lake District National Park Authority Volunteers Day 2013. Sites visited included a Roman-British settlement enclosed by a low bank, incorporating a number of massive glacial boulders and containing 6 or 7 hut circles. Adjacent to the settlement is a large buried mound probably dating from the Bronze Age and a medieval shieling – a longhouse with a small enclosure alongside once containing people and their animals. Lunch was eaten at Hoggett Gill, the site of a 17 Century lead smelter which comprises a stone building with the remains of a waterwheel pit, leat and chopwood kiln (for drying wood for smelting). The Hartsop Hall lead mines, viewed on the Second World War.

Archaeology and Photography workshop

On Tuesday 13 August Kasia delivered an Archaeology and Photography workshop to 17 archaeology volunteers. The aim of this one-day event was to raise awareness of the use of digital photography in the field of archaeology and to help the participants in developing their photographic skills and interests in the company of fellow volunteers in an informal and relaxed way. The workshop consisted of three sessions:

an introductory talk about the history of archaeological photography and the basics of photography and the use of a camera, and two hands-on sessions. Volunteers spent over an hour at the Duddon Furnace trying out different methods and procedures. After lunch they spent about an hour photographing and illustrating artefacts. The workshop was an introduction to the wide field of archaeological photography and Kasia hopes that it sparked a new interest among the participating volunteers.

Romans in Ravenglass


The first season of the exciting Romans in Ravenglass project has now sadly come to end. Romans in Ravenglass is a partnership project between the Lake District National Park Authority, Muncaster Parish Council and the Muncaster Estate and is funded by the Heritage Lottery

Fund, the Copeland Community Fund and the LDNPA. During September volunteers were given an opportunity to understand more about the Roman Heritage of Ravenglass, concentrating on the vicus (civilian settlement) surrounding the fort. Archaeological investigations in the form of geophysical survey, field walking and the excavation of three trenches was carried out in order to determine the extent and layout of the civilian settlement.

News bulletin     


Email                          archvol@lake‐