Tag Archives: Cresswell

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.

Our CBA North alphabet of archaeology continues: C and D, E and F

CBA North News
Today we have a range of items of interest for you. Again we continue through the alphabet  of archaeology across our region with C and D, E and F with a mix of Cresswell, Dogs, Egypt and Excavations, notice of a Forum and also of Fieldwork reported. We also look ahead to the Festival of Archaeology as well.

No less important we also remind you below of three other letters – A, G and M. Our AGM is on Saturday 20 May in Newcastle this year. Committee have noted the discussions from our recent Conference/Workshop and this gives us a chance to discuss in more detail our work – past, present and future – for you and your group.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee, 12.05.2017

CBA North AGM 2017 – a reminder
Our AGM is on Saturday 20 May 2017. If you haven’t booked up, or let us know of your apologies and instructions, please do so as soon as possible. This is your chance to hear of the work that Committee have been involved with on your behalf at local, regional and national meetings, as well as your chance to help in our aims and direction for the future. If you wish to raise anything please do so by the end of this week. We are especially keen that our group members to send representatives along.

We had various comments for a ‘resource bank’ at our conference/workshop in April, as well as more generally, and will look to discuss this and CBA North’s role into the future at this meeting.

The meeting is not all business however. The day gives you the chance to network and update other members of news, as well as hear a talk on the Portable Antiquities Scheme – in its 20th anniversary year – as well as participate in special tours of the Great North Museum: Hancock.

If you have had problems printing or returning the booking form sent through the emails, please let us know (including for any apologies and instructions in your absence) by emailing us at cbanorth@archaeologyuk.org.

The booking form is available on our website home page as a .pdf and also as a .doc file if you find it easier to use those versions. The deadline for any business from the floor to be considered is Saturday.

Cresswell Tower Excavations – an update
Philippa Hunter, formerly Cockburn, of Archaeological Research Services has sent us this update of work whose open-day we publicised earlier this year.

“The Cresswell Pele Tower Project is led by Cresswell Parish Council and the Greater Morpeth Development Trust. The aim of this Heritage Lottery Funded project is to remove the tower (see below) from the Historic England Heritage at Risk Register and to provide public access to the tower. This aim will be met while also providing volunteer opportunities and public engagement activities. The programme of archaeological work includes geophysical survey, fieldwalking, archaeological evaluation trenching, building survey, watching brief and archival research.


The pele tower with excavations, and excavators, in the foreground.

 

Cresswell Pele Tower represents a well-preserved example of a border tower house or ‘pele’ and is believed to date to the 14th or 15th century. In the 18th century a large mansion house was constructed adjoining the tower, but was later demolished. The tower now stands on the edge of a caravan park where it has been the target of vandals in recent years.

 

A two-week archaeological evaluation followed geophysical survey and fieldwalking in February 2017. The evaluation was conducted within Fisheries Field, to the east and south of the pele tower, and in the immediate vicinity of the pele tower itself. The evaluation aimed to identify and assess any archaeological features within these areas. A total of nine evaluation trenches were excavated within Fisheries Field and revealed evidence of Mesolithic flint knapping activity, Bronze Age burials and medieval ploughing.


The remains of an earlier building – a wall foundation and cobbled floor surface

A further three, hand-dug trenches were opened up around the tower. These trenches produced important new evidence for buried archaeological remains including an earlier building than the tower consisting of a cobbled floor surface and a rough but substantial wall foundation (see above). Medieval pottery dating from the 12th -14th centuries was also recovered supporting the structural evidence for occupation on the site pre-dating the pele tower”.

Philippa Hunter

Full reports of the work carried out, so far, can be found on the project’s website pages here. These reports include further details of the varied fieldwork, locations around Cresswell and also of the many of the finds recovered.

Further work is planned, as well as a talk on Wednesday 26 July at Cresswell Village Hall by Barry Mead as part of the Festival of Archaeology events across the north and indeed across the country.

The Dogs of Ancient Egypt
Our further letters of the alphabet come from the North East Ancient Egypt Society’s meeting. The cats of Ancient Egypt are well-known generally, but this talk deals with the dogs.

Other Events this weekend
Other events this weekend also include the AGM of our group member the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland at Shildon, near Darlington, the Tyne and Wear Heritage Forum’s second conference at Wallsend Memorial Hall (places are still available from here) for our F which includes details of the CITiZAN project whose fieldwork we covered last year (pictured below), as well as CBA National’s Member’s Weekend which is based on Tyneside this year.

We’ll have more on Festival of Archaeology events in further emails to you. We are particularly keen to promote the work of groups across our region, especially to those unable to make our April event. Please feel free to let us know of your future events.

Hot off the press archaeological news

CBA North News

Today we have some events and notices hot off the press – we’ve notice of an open day in south-east Northumberland tomorrow, as well as the programme and notice for the opening of bookings of the ever popular annual Durham Archaeology Day on Monday. The regular events of local groups across the region, however, also continue on; Wednesday sees the next of The Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne’s series. This, and others, can be found listed in our Events page of our website.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee, 18.02.2017

Cresswell Community Archaeology Open-Day
Barry Mead and Archaeological Research Services write to us giving information of an open day tomorrow (Sunday) if you are in the Cresswell area of Northumberland. These excavations, whilst concentrating in the area of the Medieval pele, have revealed a range of evidence from the Mesolithic to the Modern. Details are given in the poster below.

County Durham Archaeology Day: Saturday 11 March 2017
David Mason and Tracey Donnelly of Durham County Council have provided these details of this year’s annual archaeology day in three weeks time. As ever this will be in the the Council Chamber and Durham Room, at County Hall in Durham. This year’s fascinating talks include:

– The Main Walled Garden at Auckland Castle: Repairs and Conservation.
Harry Beamish

– A Round House and a Counting House: Two Recent Historic Building Projects
Richard Annis

– Historic Building Recording at The Gates, Durham City
Tom Addyman

– Recent Archaeological Investigations in the North Pennines
Paul Frodsham

– The Balneum of Concangis: A Roman ‘villa’ Rediscovered at Chester-le-Street
David Mason

Time:             9:45am – 4:15pm

Cost:              £14.00 which includes buffet lunch, teas & coffees; £12.00 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. Tickets will go on sale from 9.00am Monday 20th February.

To book and pay for a place online follow the link here and click Archaeology Day from the services listed or contact 03000 260000 if you wish to book and pay over the phone.

There will be displays by local societies and archaeological contractors as well as bookstalls in the adjacent Durham Room.

Events listed on the CBA North website
Our Events page continues to list further regular events throughout 2017. We’ll be sending out other news and notices of others events in our next email, if we can, next week.