Exciting new finds at the Bradford Kaims wetland excavation by Graeme Young of the Bamburgh Research Project
Over the last few year the Bamburgh Research Project has been excavating at a wetland site at Bradford Kaims, some 5km to the west of Bamburgh Village, in parallel with the long term excavation at Bamburgh Castle. The new site has been investigated as part of an English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Project aimed at expanding community involvement and outreach as well as increasing our understanding of this fascinating landscape.
Geophysical survey, kindly donated by Geophysical Surveys of Bradford, and test pitting has revealed the presence of at least 12 burnt mounds. These lie around what would have been the dry ground around the former lake, now peat filled and covered by pasture.
This summer the unusually dry weather has been a real boon, allowing the extension of Trench 6, which contains the first burnt mound we discovered, down slope and into the peat layers. This burnt mound particularly intrigues us as an archaeomagnetic date on some fired clay around a stone hearth has been dated to 4230 BC, suggesting a very early mound indeed. Right below the mound and in the upper layers of peat we uncovered a round-wood timber platform, of some considerable extent. In fact we are yet to find north, south and west sides, but we do know that it extends for some metres in all of three directions.
Preserved organic remains from prehistory are rare discoveries, so this caused a great deal of excitement. All the more so when a preserved wooden paddle was found lying on top of the timber platform. In addition to the paddle the recovery of Carinated Bowl pottery, from the layers above the paddle, provides additional dating evidence to support the early date of the mound. All things considered it looks like the paddle and platform date back to around 4000 BC.
Find out more about the Bamburgh Research Project and the Bamburgh Castle and Bradford Kaims sites on our blog
Opportunities to join the training excavation in June and July of 2014 are available, with details on the website under ‘field school’.