CBA North News
Dear Members and Friends of CBA North,
This issue’s theme seems to be numbers as you will see for various reasons.
The first two months of the year, even with an extra day last month to play, enjoy and work with, have now gone. There are a number of additions to our previous events listings from three of our group members the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland – the ‘Arch & Arch’, Coquetdale Community Archaeology and the Teesside Archaeological Society. (Other group’s events from outside the CBA North network have also been included). All are now in the revised Events page of our website if they are regular happenings.
March’s events start soon – and hopefully third time lucky for the appearance of Tony Wilmott at the BAS meeting this evening – with Whitby Abbey: 30 years of new research. This event was listed at the start of the year, as it has been previously but those of you in the north of the region will know why the hope as well!
However a pair of articles also review meetings previously announced in the CBA North emails to you last year. This come from Elsa Price, of Tullie House Museum in Carlisle, and Kate Sharpe whose conference we gave a grant to support last year and Maureen Norrie, the Editor of the Teesside Archaeological Society (TAS), who describes the Elgee Memorial Lecture at Middlesbrough. Kira-May Charley who many of you will know already for TAS now become Deputy Chair of the group and represents the group at CBA North Committee as part of the local-regional network also being involved in making this happen.
As part of regional-national network, CBA North is one of a number of CBA regional groups. Indeed we were originally numbered (rather than named) regions across the country. Some of you may remember us as CBA Group 3. Claire Corkill and James Rose, both of CBA National, have written to update of what coming out the 2018 survey and workshops held during March 2019 as well as the preliminary findings from the survey we carried in our last issue – wherein plenty number-crunching has been carried out.
The annual Durham Archaeology Day is close at hand, and details of that day are below. As last year CBA North will have a stall there with Committee members present, so please come along, say “Hello!” and give us your views and feedback on how we are doing for you. (We might even have some bargain books for you for sale there).
CBA North Committee
2020 Local Society and Group Events – further additions
Some 11 further events have been added since our last email to you in our list of local society and group events, which in turn added to the start of the year listing. These come from a number of sources, including groups inside and outside of the CBA North network.
There are now something like 90 events for 2020 listed. Please continue to let us know any additions and/or alterations for the Events as well as any changes in the details for the Local societies and groups page.
Whilst not all the titles and speakers have been confirmed in these new additions, some have dates that have been confirmed, so put them into your diary now. Here is another consolidated block of those ‘new’ dates, organised by date, which you can also print and ‘patch’ over your earlier printouts.
2 March – Prehistoric Sites nearby Duddo Stones and Roughting Linn, Allan Colman [Bowsden Heritage Group]
14 March – CAREing for rock art in the UK and Ireland, Myra Gisen [ARCH & ARCH]
8 April – AGM and Recent developments in Iron Age archaeology in the North-East, Richard Carlton [TILLVAS]
18 July – Festival of Archaeology lecture: St Godric and Finchale Priory, Margaret Coombes [ARCH & ARCH]
17 September – title to be confirmed on the north east lead industry, Greg Finch [CCA]
26 September – title to be confirmed, Paul Brown [ARCH & ARCH]
29 September – Deceptively Spacious: Durham Castle and the walls survey, Richard Annis [TAS]
10 October – Heritage is more precious than oil: teaching pupils about the past in Jordan, Arwa Badan [ARCH & ARCH]
14 November – Fire, War and Flood: Destruction and Reconstruction of World Heritage Sites, Christopher Doppelhoffer [ARCH & ARCH]
27 October – title and speaker to be confirmed [TAS]
24 November – title and speaker to be confirmed [TAS]
A Note on Further Numbers
Since the start of the year our CBA North numbers of members have continued to grow; some five new members have joined us. Welcome to them one and all of them! At the start of the year the views of our website looked like;
It is therefore pleasing to see that our January and February emails have been well received and that website numbers continue at the same sort of level;
It is with your support that CBA North thrives and is able to support such conferences, and work within the CBA family, as that described below. This is much appreciated by Committee and gives us a purpose for the future.
Can March’s figure be better again? That is also up to you as members, particularly our group members, to help spread the word as we spread your news to everyone else. Already the next email to you is under construction (but whether we send that later this month or the start of April has yet to be decided), so please feel free to send on any news in the meantime.
Northern Prehistory: Connected Communities: a Tullie House conference reviewed
Elsa Price and Kate Sharpe, instigators and co-organisers of the Northern Prehistory conference have given us a review of their wide-ranging conference. CBA North Committee was very pleased to be able to support this conference looking at many different aspects of prehistory of sites, current research on sites and finds, how to research and present it. They write;
‘Tullie House’s first in-house conference was held at the museum over the weekend of the 12 and 13 October 2019. This was generously supported with a grant from CBA North and supported with bursaries for students by the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society.
‘As Curator of Human History [Elsa], I teamed up with archaeology researcher, Dr Kate Sharpe from Durham University to try and replicate our own exchange of ideas and perspectives of Cumbrian prehistory on a larger stage. As intended, the conference attracted delegates from across a diverse range of sectors. The 75 attendees represented commercial archaeology units, museums and learning, various heritage sites, academics, students, community archaeology groups and private researchers and amateurs. This bringing together of a wide variety of backgrounds was a key objective of the conference, recognising that multiple organisations, groups and individuals are working in similar areas, yet seldom have the opportunity to share and develop through networking with one another.
A network of museum curators, education officers, CBA North members and others – all conference attendees – listening to interpretation consultant Dot Boughton explain all about the Bewcastle cauldron
‘The keynote presentation was delivered by Professor Richard Bradley of Reading University and the programme included 11 sessions across the weekend including discussions on: what we mean by ‘Northern Prehistory’, material culture, access and engagement, the Langdale axe quarries, and the major site of Stainton West. A conference discussion was led by Paul Frodsham and concluded that there was an active community of people who wanted to do more with both Cumbrian and wider northern prehistory, and are keen to form stronger relationships with other disciplines and organisations. It was also noted that Cumbria should not viewed as “northern” but rather central to the British Isles, and future research work should aim to connect with Yorkshire, southern Scotland and Ireland. Delegates requested that contact details be shared and Tullie House has been compiling a database to help facilitate networking and potentially generate future projects. This contact bank has now been compiled and distributed. Anyone wishes to obtain a copy can do so by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Connected Community of the past; some of Mesolithic Stainton West explained
‘For Tullie House, the permanent Prehistory Gallery had had no major development since its installation in 1991. The recent development of the new displays meant that reconnecting and exploring the findings and ideas from the Cumbrian prehistory community was essential. This ensured that the gallery refresh embraced recent thinking and now better reflects the whole county. The new gallery was part of the focus of this conference, to demonstrate how the results of research and fieldwork can be disseminated to wide audience base. Supporting this central idea were talks from a variety of museum and heritage professionals addressing the challenges of curating prehistory-based school sessions. Papers were presented from Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums (Kathryn Wharton), Leeds Museums and Galleries (Emily Nelson) and Durham University Library and Heritage Collections (Paddy Holland). Alongside this Gabrielle Heffernan, curatorial manager at Tullie House spoke about how best to access and museum’s research collections. Bolstering these talks were practical education-based workshops from Sarah Forster from Tullie House, an optional trip to the prehistoric landscape of Moor Divock led by Emma Watson and a knapping demonstration by James Dilly from Ancient Craft.
Another part of the new displays; with video showing knapping as demonstrated at the conference, original artefacts within the case and handling materials attached to the bench
‘For those working in commercial and academic archaeology the conference provided a valuable opportunity to catch up on work being done across the county, to learn about new approaches and interpretations, and to make both research and business connections in a relaxed environment. The positive messages from national heritage organisations were also well received and will perhaps encourage more fieldwork to investigate the rich array of prehistoric landscapes across the county. The declared intention of Tullie House to foster increased access to collections was also extremely encouraging and will hopefully see both students and more experienced researchers turn their attention to the wealth of Cumbrian artefacts held by the museum.
‘Additional activities included post-conference drinks and a conference dinner. Overall, the conference was extremely well-received with all delegates indicating that they would like to attend similar interdisciplinary events in the future. Feedback also indicated that attendees would have liked more museum gallery time built into the schedule, and that they found the parallel sessions frustrating as they were unable to attend all talks. The closing discussion revealed that almost all audience members would have liked to attend the museum education-based talks, and yet the majority chose the alternative parallel session, perhaps sticking within their own comfort zones. The parallel format was an inevitable compromise used in order to balance the objective of including as many as possible of the wide range of speakers who all submitted high quality papers. Perhaps however, rather than making the sessions thematic in the traditional fashion as we did, we could in future make them truly interdisciplinary. Mixing up sessions might feel a little odd, but our experience suggests that, in terms of improved exchanges between disciplines, the rewards might be significant!’.
Our thanks to Elsa and Kate for this write-up and organising what was a most enjoyable conference – of so many different parts. Of especial note are the follow-up’s to that conference in the networks set up and renewed, they are there to use. (If you have an idea or proposal on what CBA North Committee should give a grant to aid this year, please feel free to get in touch).
The 2019 Elgee Memorial Lecture: Durham and Dunbar
Maureen Norrie, Editor of the Teesside Archaeological Society’s Bulletin, has written to us of another connected community of the past – those soldiers of the Scottish army imprisoned at Durham – and also of a community of the present in how the annual Elgee Memorial Lecture works between a number of local groups. By the kind permission of the Teesside Archaeological Society we reproduce her write-up, which also appears in the current TAS Bulletin, for everyone in the CBA North membership. She writes;
‘This year’s Elgee Memorial Lecture (7 December 2019, Dorman Museum, Middlesbrough) was a ‘flagship’ event for TAS. It was our turn to host it on a once-in-four-years occasion, taking turns to do so with three other local Societies: Cleveland Naturalists Club, Cleveland and Teesside Local History Society, and Cleveland Industrial Archaeology Society. It is co-hosted annually by the Dorman Museum in honour of Frank Elgee (1881-1972) ‘archaeologist, geologist and naturalist, who is probably the best-known Curator of the Dorman Museum and [who] made a lifelong study of the North Yorkshire Moors, including its archaeology’ (Phil Philo, TAS Bulletin 2017, p.22).
‘That’ll be one of them Scottish soldiers, then’. In his talk on ‘Durham and Dunbar, Scottish soldiers at Palace Green’, Richard Annis (Archaeological Services, Durham University) described the unexpected discovery in 2013 of two (partial) mass graves in an overgrown, enclosed, yard on the western side of Palace Green, Durham, during preliminary works for the construction of a Café at Palace Green Library. The bones did indeed prove to be (as a digger-operator predicted) Scottish soldiers: prisoners-of-war from the Battle of Dunbar, 3 September 1650, who survived an eight-day forced march from the battle-site to Durham, only to die in Durham of (mostly) dysentery.
‘The talk included not only the dead soldiers, and what forensic investigations could reveal about their lives; but also what could be learned about their surviving comrades, some of whom were transported to America and, after a period of indentured labour, remained there. Full details are included in ‘Lost Lives, New Voices: unlocking the stories of the Scottish soldiers from the Battle of Dunbar 1650’, co-authored by C Gerrard, P Graves, A Millard, R Annis, and A Caffell.
‘The bones were reburied in Elvet Hill Road Cemetery, Durham City, in May 2018, and a permanent headstone installed. There are also plaques to their memory in the site where the bones were discovered; and in Durham Cathedral (their former prison) alongside the altar to Queen Margaret of Scotland, in the Chapel of the Nine Altars’.
The Elgee Memorial Lecture as Maureen indicated also a connected community of groups interested in the varied interests of Frank Elgee. A list of all the previous Elgee Lectures, together with the host organisation, can be found on the TAS website here. Can you fill in the blanks for the missing lectures? Were you there? We are sure that TAS and their partners would welcome that information.
CBA National news;
1) The Birmingham National-Regional CBA Groups meeting
Claire Corkill, Development Manager, has written of what is underway between CBA National and the other Regional CBA Groups. These notes show how your responses from the December 2018 survey and March 2019 are being taken on to help shape both North and National direction for a better future.
‘CBA North is part of a network of regional groups across England and Wales all working with the shared goal of ‘Archaeology for All’ and helping to create opportunities for more people to get involved with archaeology. Representatives from the CBA and the CBA regional groups met in Birmingham in January to discuss opportunities to work together more closely in the future.
‘Part of the inspiration for this meeting were the outcomes of the CBA’s audience development survey funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and undertaken by Tricolor 2018-2019. Many thanks to those of you who completed the survey or participated in one of the associated workshops. The survey highlighted the value of the regional groups, and January’s meeting was the first in a number of conversations that aim to develop the relationships between the regional groups and look at ways to improve communications and share ideas and information. Our next meeting of the CBA regional groups is already planned for a Saturday in June.
‘The CBA are currently preparing a further bid to the NLHF and regional group representatives had the opportunity to share their thoughts on elements, such as a possible new CBA website, digital assets and skills development. The development of this work in conjunction with the regional groups will help enable the CBA to provide more beneficial support, creating new opportunities to work together in the future, helping the groups to become more resilient and create more opportunities for members to get involved with archaeology’.
A CBA North’s comment on Claire’s notes is below;
‘We cannot say if many CBA North members took part in the online survey, only you can know if you or group did, however a goodly number did – but we thank you nonetheless. We were especially pleased to act as host for one of the only three on-the-ground workshops in Newcastle last year, and thank those members and friends who attended that event.
‘It is pleasing to see that work from the survey and workshops is being taken on board by CBA National. Many of you have felt that there has not enough prominence and support of the local-regional-national family in evidence over recent years. However, to our mind this work is actively reinvigorating all parts of the family. Your views so far have been carried into the report of the survey, as well as in our representation at Birmingham, and at other meetings, for you. Already the next CBA regional groups meeting is in our diary for June. Your views, comments and feedback are most welcome at any time, useful to us and where possible enacted upon …but we do need them in the first instance.
‘We are looking at a possible April event primarily for our local group members within the CBA North network (perhaps for those groups who are not yet members as well?). This may be on who, how and what and we are currently doing – and importantly what you/they would like to do in the future. We approach the end of our own current five year plan and this, combined with the revitalisation of CBA National, gives a chance to look ahead, perhaps a bit more definitely within that CBA family of local-regional-national groups’.
2) CBA National’s Communication and Participation in Archaeology Survey: some initial results and a thank you!
In our last email to you we also carried the links to a current CBA National survey as pictured below. Thank you to all of those that on contributed to that survey. This very much follows on from the Birmingham meeting described above by Claire.
James Rose, who you will remember is CBA National’s Communications and Marketing Manager, writes of the survey results;
‘The CBA recently ran a survey on communication and participation in archaeology. The aim was to gather evidence that demonstrated whether there was public demand for some of the changes and improvements the CBA would like to make to their website in support of an application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
‘Firstly a huge thank you to those that contributed. The response was fantastic! Almost 800 people completed the survey from a cross-section of people with all levels of interest in archaeology. They results show that people are keen for more news and content, information about careers and learning and, crucially, more ways to participate. CBA regional groups are vital to providing those opportunities. These results show what valuable work they do and how much potential there is to grow with local group and individual members. You can view the initial findings on the CBA blog here. A short video lasting a minute has also been prepared giving many of the responses to the survey, many showing the value of archaeology in other ways. This can be found as this YouTube video.
County Durham Archaeology Day: Saturday 21 March 2020
Tracey Donnelly, of the Archaeology Team, Durham County Council, has sent us details of this year’s County Durham Archaeology Day. This year it is slightly later than normal, but nonetheless if you’re interested in archaeology come along and find out more. This year’s fascinating talks will be:
– New Investigations at the East Park Roman Settlement, Sedgefield. Josh Hogue, DigVentures
– Excavation at Binchester Roman Fort 2019. Steve Collison, Northern Archaeological Associates
– The First Ever Excavations at Middleham Castle, Bishop Middleham. Josh Hogue, DigVentures
– Excavations at Walworth Deserted Medieval Village. Richard Carlton, The Archaeological Practice
– Investigations on the North Terrace of Auckland Castle 2019. Jamie Armstrong, Archaeological Services Durham University
– The Discovery of Bek’s Chapel at Auckland Castle. John Castling, The Auckland Project
– The Portable Antiquities Scheme 2019. Benjamin Westwood, Finds Liaison Officer Durham and Tees
The essential details are;
Location: Council Chamber, County Hall, (there is ample free parking at County Hall, and County Hall is well served with public transport. Durham City Park and Ride Scheme buses also stop at County Hall).
Time: 9:50am – 4:00pm. Doors Open at 9:15 AM
Cost: £18.00 which includes buffet lunch, teas & coffees; £14.00 for full-time students, please let us know if you have any dietary requirements, or require a vegetarian lunch.
Tickets sell out very quickly so book early to avoid disappointment.
To book and pay for a place online follow https://doitonline.durham.gov.uk/ and click on ‘More Services’ and select ‘Archaeology Day – Order Tickets’ or contact 03000 260000 if you wish to book and pay over the phone. Please note that requests for tickets to be sent out in the post will incur a £1 postage and packing fee.
There will be displays by local societies and archaeological contractors as well as bookstalls in the adjacent Durham Room. As noted CBA North will be there with a stall, we as CBA North might even have some bargain books for sale there. We cannot promise that they will be those below, but there might be.