Vindolanda, violence and war; forthcoming events in CBA North-land

CBA North News
Today our email combines our alphabet of archaeology with the letters V and W with a regular update of events across CBA North-land. This month started with the Belief in the North East conference at Durham University today.

Hot on the heels of the conference are three further events for the Bronze Age, Ancient Egyptians and Mary, Queen of Scots, in this week alone. Vindolanda, violence and war all feature in events this and next month; there is plenty for you to take your pick with (as well as more to come this week)!

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
01.10.2017

Local society events this month
Here is a list of events that we know of, so far, this month. Events, however, continue to be added to our website page – please let us know anything that we are missing!

2 October – “Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be broken”: reconstructing Bronze Age fighting styles, Andrea Dolfini [BAS]
7 October – Cobras, Demons and ‘Fighters’: Demonology in Ancient Egypt, Kasia Szpakowska [NEAES]

8 October – Mary, Queen of Scots, Jordan Evans [TILLVAS]

11 October – The Jomon Period Obsidian Mines in the Hoshikuso Pass, Nagawa, Japan, Pete Topping [NAG]
12 October – Medieval Grave Slabs of Cumbria, Peter Ryder [APPLEBY]
13 October – The Archaeology of Early Steam Locomotives, Dr Michael Bailey [Newcomen North East]
14 October – Title to be confirmed, David Mason [ARCH & ARCH]
15 October – David Dippie Dixon Memorial Lectures: The Roman assault on Burnswark Hill and New Views on Roman Scotland, John Reid [CCA]
25 October – Putting the People in the Pageant: Visions of People’s History and the Industrial Revolution in Historical Pageants in Britain, 1905-2016, Alexander Hutton [SOCANTS]
31 October – The River Tees Rediscovered, Robin Daniels [TAS]

Conference review: SGRP at Carlisle
Our region has played host to a number of national conferences this year which we hope to report to all members. Paul Bidwell, formerly Head of Archaeology, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, who retired in 2013, has provided this review of one of those events.

Paul writes “The Study Group for Roman Pottery (SGRP) was established in 1971 and now has a membership of 170 which consists mainly of people working for archaeological contracting organisations and museums, together with a healthy representation of independent researchers. This year its annual conference met at the Tullie House Museum in Carlisle on the weekend of 14–17 July.

Although there was a wide range of papers, the focus was on recent fieldwork and research in northern England. Pottery and burial practices in the Roman cemetery recently investigated at Botchergate, Carlisle were described by Megan Stoakley. Presentations on the material from the excavations in the extra-mural settlements at Brougham were given by Ruth Leary and Gwladys Monteil. One particularly interesting aspect of the pottery at Maryport is the presence of coarse wares imported from Mucking on the Thames estuary in Essex. It is a demonstration of the extent to which Roman military and urban sites in northern England had become dependent on the import of pottery from the Midlands and southern England in the mid-Roman period. Some of the implications of this change from local production in the earlier Roman period were explored by Jerry Evans in his account of pottery from recent excavations at Vindolanda. In the third century imports from continental Europe were in decline but were still of some importance. Most of the wine supplied to the Roman army in the North seems to have been supplied from southern Gaul and the Rhineland in barrels rather than amphorae, but, as Paul Bidwell explained, during the mid- to late third century imports from the famous wine-producing area of Campania in central Italy arrived in large quantities. They were contained in amphorae of distinctive forms and fabrics (see the photographs below).

Two mid-third century wine amphorae from Campania found at South Shields and Wallsend
(© Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums)

The Pottery Group meetings always include a short field trip, and this year an excursion was made to Vindolanda and the stretch of the Wall between Gilsland and Birdoswald. A highlight was the firing of a replica Roman pottery kiln at Vindolanda which was organised by Graham Taylor, a professional potter.

Other very interesting contributions dealt with pottery beyond our region, but mention made of some that described work at Scotch Corner and Catterick on the border with North Yorkshire. Excavations connected with the completion of the A1(M) have been on a huge scale and are likely to transform our understanding of Roman settlement in north-east England when the post-excavation analyses have been completed”.

Looking further ahead
Here is a selection of some of the other events happening in October and November across the CBA North region. If you want to get involved with these, with the exception of the open day next weekend, then you will need to book up. Contact details can be found in each of the posters.

For those that haven’t satisfied their fieldwork needs during the summer yet, Wardell Armstrong have sent us details of a further project examining whether a series of large stones in the Wear are the remains of a Roman structure.

Looking further ahead the Arbeia Society conference in November continues the Roman interests

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T’s and U’s for the archaeological alphabet

CBA North News
Our alphabet of archaeology continues with a quick pair of Updates from TillVAS and CITiZAN with news; there are also events listed for this weekend… but we aren’t going to cheat and claim the W just yet!

Our Events page on the website will continue to grow and further events that have come to us from one of our group members to us will be added soon to the page. We’ll gather these up for 2018 (please send us notice of any that you think might of interest to everyone else) and send on all the events that we know of at the start of the year for what is, traditionally, the most widely read and circulated of all our emails.

We hope to send out more news later this week with October’s many events listed.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
26.09.2017

Local group round-up: TillVAS in north Northumberland
Maureen Charlton and Heather Pentland send us another group round-up from the Till Valley Archaeological Society. Excavations have only recently finished at this site, so this – outside of the local parish magazine – is the first news of this excavation outside the area.

They also note the next TillVAS event – to which all are invited – is not long away either.

Events this weekend
This weekend is full of archaeological events – we know of at least six. Here are posters for three.

…and finally, though you’ll have to be quick to book a place for this dayschool.

CITiZAN in CBA North-land during 2017
Megan Clement of the Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network (CITiZAN) has sent us a brief note of their work this summer as we covered last year. This year the project’s efforts have concentrated, so far, upon Cumbria. She writes;

“Two events were hosted in Cumbria during the Festival of British Archaeology on the 16th and 17th July, led by CITiZAN North in partnership with Morecambe Bay Partnership. These were CITiZAN app workshops which involved a basic guided walk around a local area whilst updating and adding new records to the CITiZAN dataset. The two sites chosen were Roa Island near Barrow-in-Furness and Bardsea near Ulverston. Several new sites were recording including Rampside Navigation Light, a number of shipwrecks at Roa and anti-tank and anti-glider defences were recorded at Bardsea. In all 10 people attended across the two events and were trained in recording the app and identifying archaeology on the coast and in the intertidal zone.

If you are interested in reading more about the workshop at Roa Island, there is a blog which can be found here. We will be returning to Roa Island in November 2017 as some significant new features were identified and need to have a more in-depth survey carried out.”


A volunteer recording a shipwreck at Roa Island causeway (© CITiZAN)

Megan also writes that there are further training events to come if you are interested;

“There is one in Tyneside and one in Cumbria coming up in October. These are:

1. App Workshop and Guided Walk: North Shields
Friday 6th October at 2.00pm – 4.30pm
Venue Old Low Light Heritage Centre

Come join CITiZAN at the Old Low Light Heritage Centre, in North Shields (Fish Quay NE30 1JA) for an app workshop in how to rapidly record at risk archaeology on the coast. Join us for a short talk and tutorial on the app, a leisurely walk down the north bank of the Tyne recording archaeology. The event is free but places have to be booked here.

2. Training event: Roa Island
Friday 13th and Saturday 14th October 10.00am-4.00pm
Venue to be confirmed but near Roa Island

Join CITiZAN North and Morecambe Bay Partnership at Roa Island, near Barrow-in-Furness to make a permanent archaeological record the remains of a jetty and slipway identified during a workshop in July. These features appear to be part of the former slipway to access Piel Island and part of Piel pier used for travel to Belfast and Douglas. The event is free but places have to be booked for this also.”

Constantinople to Cumbria: another mix from CBA North

CBA North News
Some more information for you with notices of future events – in particular on Tuesday next week whether your interests are in Constantinople or in Cumbria. We aim to provide as much archaeological information as we can to you. If you are seeing this and not a CBA North member why not join us or let us know of any archaeological events you are running?

More news and information next week – enjoy the Heritage Open Days weekend in the meantime.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
08.09.2017

The North West Regional Research Framework
Mike Nevell and Rachael Reader send us notice of a series of events in connection with the North West Regional Research Framework – CBA North Committee are involved in this project, as well as parallel North East one, on your behalf. Contributions from members and local groups in Cumbria, or other north western interests, are particularly welcomed.

CBA North Committee have reviewed our progress to the original North West Archaeological Research Framework which our sister organisation CBA North West produced; feel free to let us know your thoughts on how we are doing well against the targets set of us.

Rachael writes:

There is still time for you to book your free space on the Early Medieval and Later Medieval period review workshop, for the North West Regional Research Framework for the Historic Environment Update Project (NWRRF for short) and become one of the first to influence the knowledge and direction of this significant project.

NWRRF is designed to provide an overview of current archaeological knowledge in the North West of England and to identify where the most significant gaps lie and how this may best be addressed. The North West region covers the counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside, and contains the Lake District National Park.

Funded by Historic England, this is a two year project has been designed to update and widen the scope of the original North West Regional Research Framework project which concluded in 2007. This endeavour is being coordinated jointly by the University of Salford’s Centre for Applied Archaeology, ALGAO North West, CBA North West. You can keep up to date or get involved with the project either by regularly checking the latest blogs at  https://archaeologynorthwest.wordpress.com/about/ or by following @cbanorthwest on twitter or visiting the CBA North West facebook pages or the Centre for Applied Archaeology facebook pages.

Our workshop availabilities are;

Early Medieval 12th September 2017 – Penrith – 10.30-13.00
Medieval – 12th September 2017 – Penrith – 13.30-16.30
Post Medieval – 25th September 2017 – Liverpool Museums- AM TBC
Industrial – 25th September 2017 – Liverpool Museums- PM TBC
Prehistory – 19th October 2017 – Chester Cathedral – AM TBC
Roman – 19th October 2017 – Chester Cathedral – PM TBC
Built heritage – 2nd November 2017 – University of Salford, Greater Manchester – 14.00-17.30

If you are interested in contributing your knowledge at one or more of these workshops please contact Penny Dargan-Makin (p.r.d.dargan-makin@salford.ac.uk) asap to reserve your place. Once your place has been confirmed I will email you with the period chapter review, the maps, bibliographies, and the research objectives to become familiar with in preparation for the workshop.

With kind regards

Rachael

Constantinople’s water
The Newcomen Society is a national society interested in the history of engineering and technology. Unsurprisingly there is a regional branch in the north east with particular interests in our region. They hold a regular series of talks – some of which are occasionally more archaeological, with this first one they open their series this season.

Details of the regional branch’s more archaeological talks will be added to our Events page on the website soon, though we already have a poster for their November talk which we’ll seen out nearer the time.

Our CBA North alphabet of archaeology continues: P and Q, R and S

CBA North News
…And so September starts, and is equally full of events as August. Our alphabet of archaeology continues as well – today we have the news for the letters P and Q, R and S. This week also sees the start of events for September with events in the north of our region at Berwick and Crookham of the Border Archaeological Society and Till Valley Archaeological Society this week.

As ever the regular events continue to be listed on our website (we are increasingly getting information for 2018 events), though we have a poster for one of these below. These snippets of news and events include a pair outside our region as well, but we hope they may be of interest nonetheless and worth a day trip during what is left of the summer.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
04.09.2017

Portable Antiquities Scheme Conference: 20 years of Treasure
As CBA North Members who attended our AGM in May will recall from the following talk there are many finds being found, often through metal-detecting, by members of the public. Our speaker Andrew Agate, one of the Finds Liaison Officers that cover our region, gave an introduction to the Portable Antiquities Scheme which this year marks of the commencement of the Treasure Act 1996 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In this time over 11,000 Treasure finds have been reported under the Act, presenting local museums with an opportunity to acquire important objects from all periods of British history. Treasure objects not acquired by museums have a permanent record on the Portable Antiquities Scheme online database.

This conference will consider Treasure now, and look at what has been learnt in the past 20 years. There will be particular focus on discovery, acquisition and interpretation with relevant case-studies. The conference will also look forward, considering the potential of Treasure in the years to come.

Further details of this free conference which is to be held on Wednesday, 11 October 2017, at the Yorkshire Museum, York, can be found online here.

For the hand of a Queen
We have previously noted a number of events in connection with the Battle of Dunbar, also East Lothian, following the excavation and identification of soldiers from that battle at Durham. As CBA North Members and Followers will know – particularly in the northern parts – there were many other battles, skirmishes and general affray on both sides of the Anglo-Scottish Border.

Our letter Q comes from the word Queen – this exhibition deals with the Rough Wooing when the hand of Mary, Queen of Scots, was sought for Edward VI. The 16th century determination of the Scots to remain independent, and increased alliances with France, led to the redevelopment of fortifications at Berwick upon Tweed and Carlisle.

Details of an associated re-enactment of the Battle of Pinkie, in a little under a fortnight’s time, can be found online here.

The Roman bathhouse at Carlisle
Frank Giecco and Fiona Lister of Wardell Armstrong Archaeology have sent us these exciting news of the latest investigations of a Roman bathhouse. In this case this is located at Carlisle in the northwest of our region and at times the very northwest of the Roman Empire.



CBA North Members and Followers who might be interested in learning more are invited to volunteer. Please follow the details of the poster below which gives you details of what this might entail for you.

A Talk on Stones and Other Things
Our final notice also comes from the north of our region; tonight’s Border Archaeological Society talk tonight, as previously listed on our website’s events page, is;


September’s other events

Here is a quick list of some of the archaeological events we know of this month. If you would like us to list or send round the details of others, please let us know.

6 September – Following the Coca shrub throughout the Americas – archaeological evidence for cocaine use, Prof Maria Chester [TILLVAS]
26 September – This Year’s Archaeology: An Interim Statement, Steve Sherlock [TAS]
27 September – Recent work by Newcastle University on the Hadrian’s Wall system, Ian Haynes [SOCANTS]
30 September – Rock art without borders: the Northumberland and Durham Rock Art Project (NADRAP): legacy and future directions, Kate Sharpe [ARCH & ARCH]

Our CBA North alphabet of archaeology continues: N and O

CBA North News
Today our CBA North alphabet of archaeology continues with the letters N and O. Taking the N’s we have a pair of articles describing recent work by CBA National on their projects the Local Heritage Engagement Network (LHEN) and Home Front Legacy (HFL) with which we have been involved. We also have brief notices of other open days – one tomorrow – for the First Linthaugh excavations, near Ford in Northumberland, which we also noted last year, as well as of others at Dilston Castle, which we’ve previously covered.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
18.08.2017

Local Heritage Engagement Network





More on the LHEN project can be found online here.

Open Day 1: First Linthaugh excavations
Members and Followers will recall we covered Dr Edwards talk at the Kirknewton Archaeology Festival on the Neolithic of the Milfield Basin last year. This year his excavations have continued at the north of the area at an adjacent enclosure. Here is a poster giving you a taster of what has been found so far.

The site is just to the south of Ford Bridge and the junction to Crookham on the B6354 and will be signposted.   Parking is permitted in the Fisherman’s Car Park  and on the grass verges, close to the track through to the dig on the opposite side of the road.   Please park sensibly and take care when crossing the road.

Home Front Legacy
It was back in August 2015 that we worked with CBA National to provide a training day for this national project in Durham, whilst readers may have also heard of the recent listing of the Stockton eavesdropping wireless station and many of the World War One war memorials across our region. Here is some news on what is happening in August for the project.





More details on this project can be found here.

Open Day 2: Dilston Castle and Chapel
Members and Followers may also be interested to take up this offer to visit Dilston Castle the seat of the ill-fated Jacobite Derwentwater family.

Last minute announcement of TAS talk tonight

CBA North News
A quick posting to our Members and Followers to notice that the Teesside Archaeological Society’s lecture tonight – only announced last night – will be Durham’s Museum of Archaeology and its Collections by Gemma Lewis, at Stockton Central Library as per normal for the group. Details for the group can be found in our Local Societies and Groups webpage.


Part of the exhibition and activity space at the Durham Museum of Archaeology

Details of other events to come, as normal are on our own website’s pages, whilst another five days remain of the Festival of Archaeology this year. We would be interested to hear what our Members and Followers are up to over this period – both from organisers of events, as well as in what others have visited. As ever feel free to get in contact with your archaeological news. for others to hear of.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
25.07.2017

Our CBA North alphabet of archaeology continues: K to M

CBA North News
Our alphabet of archaeology is back covering letters K to M – with a series of M’s we have to hand. Again we cover as much of the CBA North region we can for news of interest to all Members and Followers. We start with the killing of a bull – Taurean readers “may wish to look away now” as the news sports reports start, have a quick announcement on the Lake District in case anyone missed it and also notice a further Festival of Archaeology event that covers the Mesolithic to the Medieval.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee, 18.07.2017

Mithras: Roman Religion from the Thames to Tyne
At the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle, Members will recall we had our AGM this year – indeed seeing specially loaned exhibits associated with the Roman cavalry Turma project. Members interested in the Roman period now have another reason to visit the museum to see further specially loaned exhibits associated with the sun god Mithras, appropriate as we are now finally into the summer perhaps. Jonathan Loach of Tyne and Wear Museums has kindly provided us with both the press release and pictures detailing this exhibition.

“This exhibition runs from Saturday 1 July to Sunday 27 August. It brings together for the first time objects found in the 1950s during excavations of two important temples to the god Mithras, at Carrawburgh on Hadrian’s Wall and Walbrook in London.


The three main altars from the Carrawburgh Mithraeum © Tyne and Wear Museums

The Carrawburgh finds – owned by the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne and on show in the Great North Museum: Hancock – include three altars to Mithras as well as sculptures and religious utensils. They are joined by three exquisite marble heads of Mithras, Minerva and Serapis found at Walbrook [see at the base of today’s articles],…


Profile of a Roman marble head of Mithras © Museum of London

…and a sketch reconstruction of the interior of Carrawburgh temple by artist Alan Sorrell.

Reconstruction by Alan Sorrell of the interior of the Temple to Mithras © Museum of London

Caroline McDonald, Manager at the Great North Museum: Hancock, said:
“This is a once in a lifetime chance for anyone interested in archaeology to see these two internationally important Roman Mithras collections side by side. It’s never happened before and is not to be missed.
“I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to work with the Museum of London, my home for many years, on making this display a reality.”

Mithras was an ancient Persian god adopted in the Roman Empire as the main deity of a mystery religion that flourished in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. The religion was open only to men and some scholars believe its worshippers were highly secretive about their rituals and beliefs.

Mithras was both a sun god and a creator god. Iconography found in his temples often focuses on the act of creation in which Mithras kills a bull and life – in the form of ears of wheat – emerges from the slain animal’s tail. The god is frequently depicted as being born of a rock or egg, and the Great North Museum: Hancock holds a unique carving found at Housesteads Roman Fort showing the birth of Mithras from the cosmic egg.


The unique stone from Housesteads described above © Tyne and Wear Museums

Andrew Parkin, Keeper of Archaeology at the Great North Museum: Hancock, said:
“This exhibition provides us with the unique opportunity to tell the story of the worship of Mithras in Roman Britain from two different perspectives. As a god worshipped both in the provincial capital of London and on the northern frontier of Hadrian’s Wall.”

The excavations of the Mithraic temples at Carrawburgh and Walbrook in the 1950s captured the public imagination and stimulated interest in Mithras and the cult-like religion bearing his name.

The London temple was discovered during building work in 1954 and revealed the fine marble sculptures of Mithras, Minerva and Serapis. Around 400,000 visitors came to see the temple in just a fortnight and a campaign to save it was started. Even then Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill was involved in discussions about its preservation. The eventual outcome saw the temple moved to a nearby location where the public could see it.

Roy Stephenson, Head of Archaeological Collections at the Museum of London, said:
“We are delighted to be able to share these incredible sculptures with the people of the north-east of England, more especially as the collection at the Great North Museum: Hancock made such a formative impression on me as a child. I encourage everyone to go and see these important artefacts together while they can.”


The marble head of Serapis as found carefully buried under one of the floor levels of the Walbrook Mithraeum © Museum of London

By the 4th century AD, Roman Mithraism was in decline as Christianity spread across the Empire. The discovery of the heads of Mithras and Serapis at Walbrook – carefully hidden, buried underneath the temple flooring – may attest to the fact that the temple switched its worship to the god Bacchus”.

A pair of events will take place on this Friday, 21 July, at the museum in connection with this exhibition. At 12.30 there will be a gallery talk Why do Museums create imitation Mithraea? and at 17.30 there will be a public talk Staging religious experience in the Mithraeum: Mystagogues and Meanings both by Professor Richard Gordon of Erfurt University. Further details can be found here.

Additionally there is also another gallery tour on Friday, 28 July, as part of this exhibition whose details can be found here.

The Lake District as a World Heritage Site
Members and Followers will have doubtless heard or seen the news that the Lake District National Park is Britain’s newest (and 31st) World Heritage Site. Details on this can be found on the pages of the National Park here.

This now means that there are four World Heritage Sites within the CBA North region. Uniquely, at the moment, this also means that Ravenglass Roman fort and bath house are located in two World Heritage Sites. There are also four National Parks and four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well – there is much happening in all of these areas. We hope to report upon something from these soon.

The Mesolithic to Medieval at Cresswell: another Festival of Archaeology Event
Members and Followers will recall that we publicised something on the fieldwork around the village and tower at Cresswell, Northumberland, earlier in the year.


Excavations underway at Cresswell Tower earlier in the year

Next week sees a talk, as another within the Festival of Archaeology, which will summarise the findings – thus far – of the project. In a surfeit of M’s for our alphabet will be present with finds from the Mesolithic to the Medieval recorded, by a further M. Barry Mead will describe all in his talk on Wednesday, 26 July, at Cresswell village hall. Details for this event are on the Festival of Archaeology pages here.