Rievaulx landscapes project-Saturday 28 February 2015

Come and find out about the work currently underway to understand Rievaulx Abbey and its landscapes, and how you could take part

The complex history, beautiful setting and well-preserved architecture of Rievaulx Abbey have made it an iconic part of the North York landscape for nearly 900 years.

Many of the 100,000 people who visit the site each year may not realise how relatively little we still know about this important place:

  •  There are gaps in the historic record, as part of the abbey’s archive was destroyed by fire.
  • Previous scholarly attention has focussed on the above-ground remains of the monastic centre, with less attention paid to the wider landscape which supported the abbey.
  • Archaeological evidence may have been destroyed when the monastic centre was “cleared” in the early 20th century, and what remains cannot now be excavated.

So there is much we still don’t know about how the abbey operated in practical terms, such as its relationship with the wide network of places and activities which enabled its upkeep. These were as varied as mining interests in West Yorkshire, farming across the North York Moors, fisheries at Teesmouth and major landscape reclamation in the Vale of Pickering.

Traditional excavation won’t be possible in most of these areas. New archaeological techniques are needed, which can interpret the data produced by modern non-intrusive sensing technology. One key stage can be carried out by volunteers. It depends more on observation, an enquiring, open mind, and the ability to work methodically than on existing archaeological or technical knowledge. It can be carried out from home, with just a computer and internet access, after a short amount of interpretation training which will be provided.

Come and find out, without obligation, about current work underway by English Heritage, Durham University and others, and how you can help to study the fascinating Rievaulx landscape.

Workshop venue: Schoolroom at Rievaulx Abbey, near Helmsley YO62 5LB

Day: Saturday 28 February 2015. Time: 1-3pm. Refreshments provided.

Free, but places are limited. Pre-booking is essential to freya.horsfield@durham.ac.uk

Please do not contact the English Heritage team at Rievaulx Abbey about this event. The event is being organised offsite, so the Abbey team will have no more information than is in this notice, and cannot take bookings. General enquiries may be sent to freya.horsfield@durham.ac.uk or by post to Freya Horsfield, Rievaulx Landscapes Project, University of Durham, Department of Archaeology, Dawson Building, South Street, Durham DH1 3LE

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