Monthly Archives: March 2014

Excavations at Wark Castle – Flodden 1513

Flodden 1513: Excavations at Wark Castle

Saturday 29th March – Tuesday 8th April 2013

Early in March GUARD Archaeology from Glasgow and Volunteers from the Flodden 1513 project carried out a three day geophysical survey at Wark Castle with a view to identifying targets for excavations at the end of March and in early April. The target of this work was a field to the west of the Castle Motte which shows features very similar to those seen in the field targeted for excavations at Norham Castle in 2013.

Wark Castle Geophysical Survey Grid

Wark Castle was for much of its life a typical Norman type Motte and Bailey and in important point of contact for international relations between England and Scotland. Along with Norham the castle was the target of a Scottish siege during the first days of James IV’s invasion of England. Little is know about the siege which took place on or around the 22-25 August 1513 other than that the castle fell to Scottish forces. After the Scottish Army was destroyed on Flodden Field the castle was recaptured by the English, and again like Norham was in the following 10 years subject to a redevelopment programme paid for by Henry VIII that saw the motte capped with a new stone artillery tower.

Wark Castle Resistivity Survey Results

The Geophysical survey and coming excavations are an opportunity to examine buried features to the west of the castle motte. It is hoped that these will allow us to investigate some or all of the following:

      • Evidence from the 1513 siege of Wark Castle
      • The wider extent of the Wark Castle
      • Features of the refurbishment of the Castle between 1514-1520
          For those wishing to take part no previous experience is necessary just a willingness to join in and try it out. Volunteers wishing to sign up can join in for 1/2 or whole days and for individual periods or the whole 10 days.

For those wishing to book places please contact Chris Burgess ( to book a place on a first come first served basis.

NEAES Meeting and Lecture Saturday 15th March

Commercial Union House, 39 Pilgrim St, Newcastle, NE1 6QE. Saturday 15th March.

2.00 – Tea and coffees are available on the Third floor of CUH for £1.

2.20 – Talk starts

4.00 – Finish

Dr Violaine Chauvet (Lecturer in Egyptology, University of Liverpool) will be talking about ‘Aspects of Tomb Decoration in the Old Kingdom’.

Violaine is an expert in Old Kingdom tomb decoration and iconography. She will be explaining ‘how to read’ an Old Kingdom tomb as well as developments in the decoration and meaning of mastabas at places such as Saqqara.

This meeting is in collaboration with the Joseph Cowan Lifelong Learning Centre CIC.

See their website at for information on their Spring programme etc.


NEAES Members and JCLLC Explore members are free. Visitors £5, concs. £3.

Newcastle University Roman Archaeology Seminar

Newcastle University Roman Archaeology Seminar

The next Newcastle University Roman Archaeology Seminar will take place on Friday 14th March at 5.30 pm in Room 1.06 of the Armstrong Building (

Tom Hazenberg (Hazenberg Archeologie) will be presenting:

‘The latest news from the other side: recent developments on the Dutch limes and the North Sea coastal area’

North Yorkshire Archaeology Service at Risk

North Yorkshire Archaeology Service at Risk
Budget cuts threaten Historic Environment Team, Archaeological and Environmental Services | Find out what you can do

The future of the North Yorkshire County Council historic environment team is at risk after new budget cuts at North Yorkshire County Council, agreed last month, which include a reduction of over £470,000 in the budget for Waste and Countryside Services. This will include a reduction of £155,000 in staff costs for waste, archaeology, biodiversity and ecology services over the next year (2014/15).

The historic environment team currently employs four members of staff, including an HER officer, and provides archaeological guidance to local planning authorities, developers, residents and land owners. They also maintain the county historic environment record.

“These cuts are part of Council measures to cut their overall budget
by £94 million over 4 years (to the end of March 2015)
with additional cuts of up to £73 million
anticipated for the period 2015-19.”

The main roles of the archaeological service are to:

  • Provide archaeological advice to local planning authorities;
  • Provide pre-planning guidance to developers and residents, and archaeological advice to landowners and agents;
  • Provide guidance on archaeological work across the county, including commercial and community-led excavations;
  • Maintain and manage heritage information and access to it (including curating the North Yorkshire Historic Environment Record);
  • Promote the historic environment of the region.

The service covers the county of North Yorkshire outside of the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks. North Yorkshire is the largest county in Britain and has a significant and diverse archaeological heritage.

“As seen in other parts of the country e.g. in Worcestershire) archaeology services have the potential to generate income through commercial work,  service charges and grant-funded projects. However, without sufficient staff in post to put this into practice, the service is likely to be increasingly vulnerable to cuts in future (which is a particular worry considering the anticipated budget cuts predicted by the Council over the next 4-5 years).”

What to do now

  • Read this short briefing document prepared by the Council for British Archaeology (PDF format, 2 pages).
  • If you are resident (and vote) in North Yorkshire write to your Councillor and consider writing to your MP.
    Keep your letter short, to the point, empathetic to the challenges facing councils, and polite. Always identify yourself and that you are one of the people they represent. Your voice counts more if they think you vote for them.
    See some more advice on How to Communicate with Your Elected Representative Effectively.
  • Find details of the County Councillor for your area via the council’s website:
  • Please share this message with other interested groups in North Yorkshire.
  • The CBA will be writing to John Weighell, the Council Leader.