CBA North News
In this issue we have the details of the April events soon to come your way, as well as news from a number of projects and publications from across CBA North-land from four of our local group members. This email was drafted out on Saint Cuthbert’s Day, and like him we criss-cross the region in what news we have to share.
From Cumbria we have a summary of the Appleby Archaeology Group’s investigations across their local golf course (including rare Bronze Age evidence) whilst from Northumberland we have an update on the Border Roads Project of Coquetdale Community Archaeology. Members may recall the fieldwork and plans for both of these projects, here we now report upon their successful completion and publication.
From two other of our group members, the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland once again and the Northumberland Archaeological Group we have notices of their own recent publications. The contents of both volumes also listed for you here as well.
Please feel free to circulate our news around your own contacts and groups. We hope that our next email to you will be out mid-month, next month, reporting further news from across the region.
CBA North Committee
April Events 2019
1 April – The Enigmatic Trusty’s Hill: Royal Capital of Rheged, Dr Chris Bowles [BAS]
3 April – AGM and An Update on the 2018 Mardon Excavation, Richard Carlton [TILLVAS]
8 April – Lowick Races (Horses, Bikes and Athletics) and the Lowick Feast 19th-20th centuries, Julie Gibbs and cast [Lowick Heritage Group]
8 April – Mediaeval village landscape in Cumbria, David Johnson [LUNESDALE]
9 April – Cold War to Coal Trains – TOPS, British Railways’ First Computer Train Operating System, Johnathan Aylen [NEWCOMEN]
10 April – A History of Alnwick Castle Gardens as revealed through excavation and building recording, Jenny Proctor [NAG]
11 April – A Roman bath house at Stanwix, Frank Giecco [APPLEBY]
11 April – The Eslington Sword, Prof Sam Turner [CCA]
24 April – Magnificent Women and the Revolutionary Machine; The extraordinary individuals who founded the Women’s Engineering Society in 1919, Henrietta Heald [SOCANTS]
25 April – Annual General Meeting and Chairman’s Choice [Tyneside Industrial Archaeology Group]
27 April – Long Meg and her Daughters, Paul Frodsham [ALTOGETHER]
27 April – Living in Harm’s Way: Further reflections on the Development of Hornby Castle, Wensleydale 1000-1700, Erik Matthews [ARCH & ARCH]
[As noted we continue to keep our Events website page up-to-date with details; please let us know any additions or alterations to that page or indeed this listing. More one-off or annual events can be sent to us at any time, Ed.]
Appleby Archaeology Group: Fieldwork on the Green
Our CBA North AGM in 2016 included a talk from our group member the Appleby Archaeology Group on their forthcoming Dig Appleby which we covered in a later email to you. However the group’s previous project has now been published. Here Martin Railton, Research Officer of the group, gives us a summary of their project;
‘Between 2009 and 2013 the Appleby Archaeology Group carried out a number of small-scale surveys and excavations across a range of monuments located at Brackenber Moor adjacent to the Appleby Golf Course. Despite the hazards of flying golf balls and more, the group carried out both geophysical surveys and excavations of a range of features in the area. Some of these features were freshly identified by the group during the survey carried out in 2009,whilst others had been known about – albeit misidentified – in the archaeological literature for some time.
The highlight of the excavation aimed to record the details of one of these earlier recorded sites – a roughly circular flat area, partly surrounded by a pair of crescent-shaped ditches, was thought to be one of the chain of Roman signal stations that operated between the Stainmore Pass and the larger Roman roads to the west and east. The large post-holes and structure of a signal station were expected. However our excavations revealed this to be a different type of monument altogether and one much, by thousands of years, older.
The feature was revealed to be an enclosed cremation cemetery – a funerary monument typical of the Early Bronze Age. Our excavations across the centre of monument revealed a number of pits, some containing human cremated remains and prehistoric pottery dating to the Bronze Age. Samples were taken at the time of excavation and only now, following the post-excavation process, can a fuller story of the monument be told. This appears to have been a multi-phase monument and, surprisingly, extending into Middle Bronze Age times from the radiocarbon dating of samples of human bone. These yielded a date of 1740 to 1630 BC when sampled at the SUERC lab. This was quite surprising when nationally evidence of funerary activity starts to disappear.
Other sites were sampled, but perhaps none with so spectacular results as the cremation cemetery. These included a scheduled cairn of likely Bronze Age date, which revealed evidence for earlier Mesolithic and Neolithic activity in the vicinity. Our fieldwork was carried out by the group in conjunction with the North Pennines AONB Altogether Archaeology Project with support from Wardell Armstrong Archaeology. We are grateful to them for their support and the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society for funding the post-excavation work, without which the Transactions article could not have been published’.
[The full excavation report can be read in the most recent Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society (3rd series volume 18), Ed.].
The Border Roads Project: Taking the High Road
David Jones, Secretary of Coquetdale Community Archaeology, reports on their recent work as The Border Roads Project. He writes;
‘Based in North Northumberland, Coquetdale Community Archaeology (CCA) was founded in 2008 at the conclusion of a community archaeology project funded by the Northumberland National Park Authority. One of its first major projects as an independent group was the identification and excavation of a thirteenth-century fulling mill on the River Coquet at Barrowburn, about five miles upstream from Alwinton. Built by the Newminster monks from Morpeth, the project uncovered one of the best-preserved medieval wheel pits in the country, with a wheel configuration otherwise known only from the sixteenth century.
The project was a success, with large numbers of volunteers, many visitors, and two papers in Archaeologia Aeliana. But rather than rest on their laurels, CCA decided to follow this up with a broader initiative, one that would include not just excavation, but also walking, photography, surveying, research, design and writing.
The Border Roads project, reported in earlier CBA newsletters and funded by the HLF and the National Park, started in 2014 and ended in December. Its focus was on the rich set of archaeology found along the Border Roads – the ancient routes through the Cheviots such as Dere Street, Clennell Street and The Street that connect what are now England and Scotland.
The purpose of the project was to research and document this archaeology, but above all to communicate its presence to as wide an audience as possible. It’s very clear that many people who visit the hills are unaware of the history they are moving through – walking past ridges, shapes and ruins in the landscape without any real idea of what they are missing.
So CCA teams delved into archives, travelled the roads and planned walks and tours. There were excavations too – four different sites in the five summers of the project, often two in one year. There were four seasons of work at a site by the Hepden Burn, where an unprepossessing rectangular earthwork was found to conceal not only a seventeenth-century agricultural building but, under that, a carefully-laid paved medieval floor.
This site has been the subject of a recent excavation report in Medieval Archaeology (Nolan and Jones, 2018 volume 62/2 in the Fieldwork Highlights for 2017).
Excavation has now started on a scheduled site at the deserted settlement of Linbrig, also by the Coquet. Although the Border Roads project has finished, this work will continue until 2020, with the objective of looking at several structures on the site, including what are probably farmhouses and a corn drying kiln.
With its focus on communication, the project has produced a website (www.border-roads.org/) and two books. The first of these – The Old Tracks through the Cheviots – weighs in at over 200 pages. Its early chapters cover the history of the hills, the records left about them and the types of structures found there. Then each route is examined in turn, with details of the archaeology along them.
The second book – Walking the Old Tracks of the Cheviots – is a portable ring-bound guide to nine carefully-documented walks on either side of the border. Again in full colour and designed to be carried out on the hills, it provides detailed route instructions and precise map references, as well descriptions and histories of what people might otherwise miss.
Both books are available from book shops, on-line from the usual suspects, or direct from the publisher, Northern Heritage.
With all the work that’s gone into it, the involvement of over 90 volunteers and the outputs described, it’s clear the project has been a success. Other people think so too. In November CCA won a competition organised by National Parks UK for their Volunteer Project of the Year. Open to all volunteer projects across the country, and for any kind of work in a National Park, the award brought not only a trophy, but a bursary of £1000 to help CCA continue its work’.
Recent publications 1: Durham Archaeological Journal 21
Also fairly hot off the press our group members the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland – the ‘Arch & Arch’ – who reported their 2018 activities in our last issue, have published the latest volume of their Durham Archaeological Journal.
The varied contents of volume 21 include the following;
The excavation of an Anglo-Saxon arable enclosure at Easington, County Durham by Kevin Horsley, 1-5
Hexham Abbey, Northumberland: archaeological excavation, monitoring and historic building recording 2012-14 by Richard Carlton and Peter Ryder, 6-81
A late medieval pectoral cross recovered from the River Wear near Elvet Bridge, Durham City by Gary Bankhead, 83-102
Kepier water-mill, Durham City: a conjectural reconstruction by John M Coffey, 103-134
Hebburn Hall, South Tyneside by Richard Pears, 135-165
Forgotten antiquarians? William Greenwell and his northern contemporaries by Rob Young, 167-186
[Members who attended our various Hexham meetings in 2013 will recall the archaeological work required in advance of the development of the Abbey Centre. It is those pieces of work that are reported in the Hexham Abbey article of this issue, Ed.].
Recent publications 2: Northern Archaeology 23
Gordon Moir, Editor for the Northumberland Archaeological Group, gives us details of their latest Northern Archaeology. He writes;
‘The Northumberland Archaeological Group (NAG) announces the recent publication of volume 23 of its journal Northern Archaeology. This volume is dedicated to the memory of Colin Burgess, the founder of NAG, who died in 2014. Contents relate to the archaeological life of Colin and the work he directed in Portugal; it includes colour pictures, maps, diagrams and plans, is printed on high quality cartridge paper and with a paper binding.
Copies may be purchased from the Editor: Gordon Moir, 7 Albury Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 3PE; email@example.com ; 0191 284 5062. The prices are: in the UK £17 which includes postage and packing; within Europe (which includes Eire) £21 and for the rest of the world £25. These costs are for both Institutions and individuals. Cheques should be made payable to “Northumberland Archaeological Group”. For details of bank transfer contact the Editor.
The contents are:
A later-20th century mould for casting a Bronze Age from the north-east of England; A life of Colin Burgess
by Roger Miket, 1-21
Colin Burgess: a Bibliography, 23-34
Colin Burgess and the Bronze Age Studies Group by John Waddell, 35-40
NAG: The First Twenty-Five Years, 1973-1998 by Gordon Moir, 41-54
Archaeological Work in the Évora Area – Preamble by Gordon Moir, 55-56
The Évora Project 1986-91, 1993 by Frances Lynch, 57-60
The Megalithic Tomb Survey by Frances Lynch, 61-77
Excavations and Survey at Monte do Casão, 1990 by Anthony Harding and Melanie Pomeroy, 79-84
The Late Bronze and Iron Age enclosures of the Évora region by Catriona Gibson, 85-95
The Search for the Roman hinterland of Évora: thirty years on by Steven Willis, 97-106
Évora Archaeological Survey: Fieldwalking by Margaret Maddison, 107-118
The impact of the Évora Archaeological Survey (EAS) project in Portuguese Archaeology by Virgílio Hipólito Correia, 119-124
The Bibliography is an augmented and extended version of those published previously.
Colin in France, April 2013, on his last Archaeotrekker’s trip, at La Chaire à Calvin, near Angouleme.
Our last email noted the changes made for the Local Societies and Groups website page for the Northern Archaeological Group, rather this should have been the Northern Archaeology Group. In case of any other alterations to this, or any other website page, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.