CBA North News
Our latest issue once again spans the variety of the CBA North region – this is not quite the last email of 2016 to you, as a further one is to come yet. Today’s issue has some last minute news of some training tomorrow and two further round-ups from local groups. (There is no system in play here – we move from the A of Appleby’s in the last issue to B’s this time with Bernicia and Border).
Again we span the geographical expanse of our region from Morecambe Bay in our southwest to the northeast in Northumberland for the varied field-based and recording work by the Bernician Studies Group, as well hearing what Berwick-based lectures the Border Archaeological Group have been enjoying during 2016 and what their members can look forward to 2017.
CBA North Committee
Morecambe Bay: training tomorrow (and other dates)
[Louise Brown of the Morecambe Bay Partnership has written to us giving details of some further training events with one tomorrow. You will recall that previous training has been in geophysical surveying carried out as part of the same project during the summer. Please contact Louise if you would like any further details, Ed.]
As part of the Headlands to Headspace Landscape Partnership Scheme, currently being delivered by Morecambe Bay Partnership, we have arranged some further free training in documentary research for volunteers. The workshops have been organised for Kendal (20th December, 10th and 17th January), Arnside (7th and 14th January) and Barrow (28th January and 4th February). The training is hosted by Dr Richard Newman of Wardell Armstrong Archaeology (formerly the Cumbria County Archaeologist), is Bay themed and will introduce research techniques for desk-based archaeological study. We hope to get volunteers to contribute to desk-based reports focused on specific themes/topics as part of the training.
The link to our website for further information and booking a free place can be found here:
H2H Cultural Heritage Officer
Morecambe Bay Partnership
Office: 01539 734888
Follow us on Twitter: @H2H_Tweets
Local group round-up 1; If you go down to the woods today…
…but not for a picnic, you may learn about a possible ancient Northumbrian woodland boundary zone. Members of the Bernician Studies Group are looking at an area between Wansbeck and Coquet in Northumberland. We call the study Cocwudu, a name recorded in the History of Saint Cuthbert at the end of the 11th century. The word seems to be a re-formation of the river-name Coquet and Old English wudu, meaning woodland.
Place name elements such as Old English hryst, leah, sceaga and wudu, as in Coquetdale at Morrelhirst, Horsley, Lordenshaw and Witton, provide clues of a long-gone forested area.
During the last two years, members have checked many likely locations for plants which indicate ancient semi-natural woodland. We are noting the common ones such as Wood Anemone and Dog’s Mercury, and rarer ones such as Herb Paris and Toothwort. Most of these woodlands only survive in outlying places, along steep and inaccessible sides of streams and rivers. We look for evidence of woodland management in the past, such as pollarding and coppicing.
We are also studying historic township boundaries using the 1860s Ordnance Survey maps at the Literary and Philosophical Society library in Newcastle. We are also looking at the Brinkburn and Newminster Cartularies for evidence of Medieval arable and animal management, forests and hunting. Some members have been translating selected charters from Latin into English. Experts associated with Newcastle and Durham universities are guiding the work.
The Bernician Studies Group is closely associated with Explore, the Newcastle-based independent lifelong learning programme. Explore offers an exciting range of classes and lectures in philosophy, art, history and archaeology, literature, science and more, which are open to all. Their spring programme starts on 16th January 2017.
More information on the group can be found at www.bernicianstudies.eu.
Bridget Gubbins and the Bernician Studies Group
Local group round-up 2; Border Archaeological Society
BAS have enjoyed an excellent programme of lectures during 2016. Beginning with Joanna Hambly, we learned about 150 years of documentation of the Pictish carvings at Weymss Caves before Chris Fowler of Newcastle University described Early Bronze Age Burial Practices in North East England and South East Scotland. We then had a tour of the Sahara with Tertia Barnett who spoke of the rock carvings to be found there. She was followed by Jeremy Paterson who described the Roman economy. Our last speaker before the summer break was Dr Jane Webster, founder of a Young Archaeologists Club in Newcastle speaking about the University’s work with young people. This was especially pertinent now that A-level Archaeology is to be a thing of the past*.
In September, Myra Giesen spoke about Mortuary Archaeology. She was followed by Elidh Ferguson of the Face Lab at Liverpool Sir John Moores University, stepping in admirably for Professor Caroline Wilkinson, who held the audience enthralled as she described how facial images are reconstructed from the skull*. Colleen Batey spoke with great knowledge and enthusiasm about Pagan Viking Burial in November. Professor Clive Bonsall wound up this year’s lecture series with a talk on his work on Mesolithic shell middens on the east coast of Scotland in the “Obanian Problem”.
In 2017, we welcome Fraser Hunter and Andrew Birley talking about the Celts and Vindolanda respectively. They are followed by Tatiana Ivleva talking about Iron Age and Roman period glass bangles. The following three talks are on local topics: Paul Gething on Bradford Kaims, Jenny Proctor on Needle’s Eye and Ian Kille on how the local geology has shaped its history. Andrea Dolfini will speak on reconstructed Bronze Age fighting styles followed by Richard Carlton on recent discoveries on Lindisfarne. Our President, Lindsay Allason-Jones somewhat enigmatically, will wind up the programme by asking whether Hadrian’s Wall is archaeological site or an artistic muse.
Josie McChrystal and the Border Archaeological Society
[*As footnotes to this review, CBA North Members and Followers will recall that we earlier sent round notice of a petition for the reprieve of A-Level Archaeology during October; this was recently debated in Parliament, but the subject is not safe yet, see https://www.change.org/p/aqa-save-a-level-archaeology for an update. Furthermore the recent facial reconstruction of Robert the Bruce reported in the media – see https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/dec/08/sprucing-up-robert-the-bruce-scottish-kings-face-gets-3d-treatment – was carried out using the techniques described in the lecture. All of which shows the value of local groups and their lectures, Ed.]
[If others or other groups would like to contribute something to our newsletter emails please do so and send something in. Contributions are edited as little as possible and can include a few choice pictures – we don’t have to run in alphabetical order for the local round-up’s of the local groups – and we’ll publicise all the events known to us at the start of the New Year which is by tradition our most widely read email and circulated website page, Ed.]