Tag Archives: Durham University

CBA North: mid-June newsletter

CBA North News

Our email to you this time is another mixture of content – from a number of sources also – and from around the CBA North region.

Following our usual events listing for the remains of June, we’ve a contribution from a member on how archaeology has inspired their artistic work and studies, something looking ahead to a conference in October (not that we are wishing summer away already), notes on recent publications, posters for events (including one happening on Saturday) and throughout the summer, as well as a book sale. There is so much yet to come in the intervening months, such as July’s Festival of Archaeology no less!

As ever we continue to keep our Events website page up-to-date with details – three further talks have been added, as well as the title of another now confirmed, on that page since our last email to you. Please let us know any additions or alterations to that page or indeed the listing below.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
19.06.2019

June and July Events 2019
June 2019
3 June – Gods and heroes: public and private in Pompeian houses, Dr Thea Ravesi [BAS]
5 June – Riding West: Roman Cavalry Tombstones at Hexham & Beyond, Lindsay Allason-Jones [TILLVAS]
25 June – The Yarm Helmet, Chris Caple [TAS]
26 June – Paints and Pigments in the Past: colouring in the Roman Frontiers, Louisa Campbell [SOCANTS]

July 2019
13 July – Work in Thebes, Jose Manuel Galan [NEAES]
20 July – The Archaeology of Domestic Innovation in the Country House, Prof Marilyn Palmer [ARCH & ARCH]
31 July – From Women’s Rights to Human Rights: How the Struggle for the Vote Changed the World, Rosie Serdiville [SOCANTS]

Archaeology, Pots and back again (twice): a member explains all
Lorraine Clay, both a member of Tynedale Archaeology and CBA North groups, as well as potter has sent us this short article on how archaeology inspires her artistic work. She writes;

‘I’m a ceramic artist who draws inspiration from archaeology, this is ponderings on archaeology and pottery.

I’ve always been interested in Archaeology since Dad took us to The Wall when children and finding rock art with Mum as a teenager. When I studied A Level Archaeology in 1990 for something to do after work, I couldn’t have imagined the path that it would take. The A Level was so disorganised that I swore I would never do another qualification and looked for a leisure evening class: woodwork was daytime so I plumped for pottery.

One of my first pieces was directly inspired by Scottish Celtic crosses, then direct influences came from visiting Minoan sites in Greece: these included the 6’ tall storage jars in Malia with coils as thick as an arm, and the curious kernos vessels in Heraklion Museum. You can learn a lot from copying something – such as the challenges the potter faced – one Greek pot I was having trouble with the handles, I put my mind in the place of a hot tired potter who wanted to drink Raki in the shade, and there it was! The simplest and quickest method looked just right.

A Cretan Krater

As I approached 13 years with the Civil Service I took the plunge to devote myself to becoming a full-time potter. I began studies at Newcastle College and for four years sold work in galleries and exhibitions and ran evening classes. In 2006 I commenced the Contemporary Ceramics degree at Newcastle and was accepted to be the pottery tutor for Ashmore House, an NHS mental health daycentre. Newcastle gave me the impetus to be more experimental and I began weathering clay, a technique I still practice today.

Weathering is inspired by mortality: a fingerprint survives on a Minoan storage jar, a Neolithic vessel is patterned with nail impressions but the potter is long gone. A cat’s paw-print on a Roman roof tile…

Like ceramics we believe we are immortal, living for tomorrow we stay in unsatisfying jobs until walking home in a gale a dislodged gargoyle takes us out. (I heard this story many years ago on the radio of a man dying this way after gales in Scotland; googling it now I find a US woman died in 2014 from a falling gargoyle – maybe it’s not rare at all!).

We are more like unfired clay, endangered by random circumstances, wind and rain.  I think this is why I joined Altogether Archaeology: too many years had gone by without digging, I couldn’t resist any more: my knees were in remission. On my first molehill survey I found a jet bead and was hooked again. And it seemed natural to get permission to take a little of the clay we dug up home!

Lorraine at the Whitley Castle mole-hill survey

In 2016 I took a chance and applied to the Ness of Brodgar and was euphoric when I was accepted!

Weathered bowl before firing (above), weathering and wood-fired (below left and right respectively)

Sometimes I use archive materials and clay from archaeological sites. For an exhibition at the Durham Oriental Museum I morphed cuneiform envelopes into curvaceous “promise boxes” using Forest Hall clay following their ancient Middle East counterparts.

For a second exhibition I was delighted with a label just bearing the name Petrie on one vase: I made pieces celebrating the people, including Flinders Petrie, in the chain that had brought the artefact to Durham using clay from digs. William Thacker, who set up the Oriental Museum, is shown by the transfer print which on smoke-fired Low Hauxley clay.


When the daycentre closed it didn’t take long to become bored. I heard you didn’t need an archaeology degree to do an Archaeology postgraduate course, so I contacted Antonia Thomas at UHI (University of the Highlands and Islands), who told me she was starting an Art and Archaeology module the following week!

3 Orkney clays: Back row – unfired with shell: unfired without shell
Front row – fired with shell: unfired without shell.

I enjoyed it so much I applied to UHI and Durham to do an MA in Archaeology, focusing especially on the British Neolithic. Deciding between the two was one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make! Two terms in and I find myself writing about ceramics not rock art – in Dolni Vestonice, Gravettian finger fluting, materials analysis: before I knew it, I was suggesting Clay in the Palaeolithic for my dissertation! Watch this space!…….’ 

[Many thanks to Lorraine for writing this article; if this has inspired you or you want to share your own archaeological inspiration, perhaps in different ways, please feel free to send us a short article to us at cbanorth@archaeologyuk.org for our next issue].

Tullie House Conference
Elsa Price of Tullie House Museum, Carlisle, and Kate Sharpe of Durham University have sent us the poster below on a busy October weekend they are planning on the prehistory of the Cumbrian area. If you are interested in the day, read on and follow up through the contact details given – contributions from all are most welcome!

(Fairly recent) Tees Archaeology publications
From recent the River Tees Rediscovered Landscape Partnership, Tees Archaeology have fairly recently published a pair of short booklets The First Great Civil War in the Tees Valley and Industry in the Tees Valley. These short well-illustrated freely-available booklets give introductions to the many sites of particular note for their respective subjects.


Whilst many other Civil War battlefields and sieges are known across CBA North’s region, the first of these highlights many of the smaller skirmishes that rarely figure in the national literature. This booklet was written by Robin Daniels and Phil Philo. A further leaflet for the Piercebridge encounter described is also available further down the website page mentioned below.

Industry upon Teesside, however, needs no introduction. However sites familiar and unfamiliar are dealt with in the booklet by Alan Betteney, for the whole variety of Teesside industries, though this is a rather larger file to download. Nevertheless both of these are freely available as downloads from the Tees Archaeology website Downloads page.

TillVAS’ Iron Age Day
Equally industriously in the north of Northumberland, this Saturday sees the Till Valley Archaeology Society hold an Iron Age Day. The poster below gives details of what you can expect, inside and out, at Etal Village Hall to give more of a background and context to their recent excavations at nearby Mardon Farm.

CBA National’s June Booksale
CBA North members might be interested to know that CBA National is having a Spring Sale on publications. They have reduced prices on more than 75 books including many of our recent Research Reports and Practical Handbooks. Their online shop can be visited here. The sale ends on 30 June 2019 so ideal for finding some holiday reading and/or post-exam relaxation.

Prehistoric Pioneers: an Exhibition and Events
Charley Robson, of Durham University’s Prehistoric Pioneers Education and Outreach Team, has written to let us know of this exhibition. She writes;

‘The Prehistoric Pioneers exhibition is now open to the public at the Durham Museum of Archaeology, Palace Green, Durham, until 24 November 2019. The exhibition explores life in ancient Britain, from warfare to rituals, and the way Bronze Age people buried weapons and treasure in hidden hoards. Curated by the Durham’s MA Museum and Artefact Studies students, this exhibition gives a face to prehistoric people and challenges the idea that these were primitive cultures. 
 
To coincide with the exhibition, a pair of talks have been planned to take place on the 20 and 24 June and which are detailed in the poster below. Some more details on these events are given below for those who might be interested to attend. Booking information is given through the poster and places can be booked in emailing archaeology.museum@durham.ac.uk. Further information on the exhibition, including that available who cannot get to Durham themselves, as a series of podcasts is available here‘.

CBA North: mid-May newsletter 1

CBA North News
Now into the fresh month of May, we now have some fresh news of events, exhibitions recently launched and publications further freshly issued in this first email of the month. This month is notable for many reasons and in particular for the first event listed here – throughout the many incarnations of CBA North past and present Professor Dame Rosemary Cramp has been a steady and steadfast supporter of our work. A special invitation extended to all for an event coming up on the Friday of this week – please follow the instructions if you would like to attend this.

Professor Cramp whose work has regionally and nationally specialised in the Early Medieval period (with 1960s and 1970s excavations at Monkwearmouth and Jarrow), has also included developing the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture regional studies (the gazetteers now appearing online, with the ever expanding website), representation (not least of her own Durham Department of Archaeology) in many local and national societies, boards and organisations (including that of both CBA North and indeed CBA National itself), and many, many publications (still going into the 2010s), is of particular note.

We are sure that all CBA North Members wish to send on their congratulations and best wishes to Professor Cramp.

Our other news is more varied, but no less important, and criss-crosses CBA North-land in its coverage. As noted another email will be coming your way next week with further news. More content, particularly of events and excavations just past, is always welcome.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
08.05.2019

May Events 2019
1 May – Vikings in Scotland: some close encounters of the museum kind, Trevor Cowie [TILLVAS]
8 May – AGM and From Nursing to Archaeology, Charlotte Roberts [CCA]
8 May – Henge Monuments and the enclosed cosmos, Pete Topping [NAG]
13 May – Lyres and spears: the hunt for poetries of the Northern Iron Age, Dr Graeme Lawson [BAS]
25 May – The Two Brothers, Roger Forshaw [NEAES] 
29 May – Recent fieldwork on Lindisfarne… shedding light on the early Medieval monastery, David Petts and Richard Carlton [SOCANTS]
May – AGM, title and speaker to be announced [ARCH & ARCH]
May – Hidden Monuments, Emma Watson, date and venue to be announced [TAS]

[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.]

Recent Publications 1: A New Publication on Hadrian’s Wall
Paul Bidwell, formerly of Tyne and Wear Archaeology Museums and also of the Arbeia Society, has written to us with details of their new publication on Hadrian’s Wall. He writes;

‘The Arbeia Society and Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives have published a report on the long series of excavations on Hadrian’s Wall at Wallsend which were carried out intermittently from 1991 to 2015. The report describes not only the building of the Wall and its several rebuildings following successive collapses, but also the distribution system of the fort aqueduct, the defences of the military vicus and ritual deposits of weaponry in the later 3rd century. Other chapters looks at the evidence on which the full-size reconstruction of the Wall was based, at the temples east of the fort and at occupation, including buildings, immediately beyond the Wall. The structural history of the curtain of Hadrian’s Wall as a whole is discussed, and there is a short essay on the problems and opportunities of developer-funded excavations on its line, especially in modern urban areas’.

The details are as follows: Paul Bidwell, Hadrian’s Wall at Wallsend, 262pp and CD, 156 illustrations, ISBN 9781527229969, is £35.00. This can be bought online here or from the shop at Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum.

Arbeia Journal Online
Paul also continues to let us know that;

‘Volumes 1 to 8 of the Arbeia Journal, most of which are now out of print, have been digitised and are available on the Arbeia Society’s website here. Later volumes of the journal and other publications of the Society will appear on the website in due course’.

Though the main focus of the journals contents are on South Shields and Roman matters, there are other articles on Roman sites across the north and CBA North-land, as well as other topics again.

Ice Wall versus Hadrian’s Wall
Frances McIntosh, Collections Curator at English Heritage for Hadrian’s Wall and the Northeast,  has sent us notes of a current exhibition at Housesteads.

She writes: ‘To coincide with the final series of the TV show based on the books by George R R Martin, entitled Game of Thrones, English Heritage wanted to highlight why Hadrian’s Wall was an inspiration for the Ice Wall! Surprisingly, not everyone is interested in history, and so we thought this was a fun way to potentially inspire more people to visit our amazing World Heritage Site.

I have written a blog, which discusses the similarities between the garrison on Hadrian’s Wall, and the Night’s Watch on the Ice Wall, which can be read here. A small case and graphics at Housesteads continues this theme, showcasing everyday items from life on the Roman Wall.

For those visitors who want to know more, a longer article can be found on the History Extra website.

Recent publications 2: The Clayton Collection
Also fairly hot off the press is Frances’ own book The Clayton Collection; An archaeological appraisal of a 19th century collection of Roman artefacts from Hadrian’s Wall has recently been published by BAR Publishing. This analyses the history and formation of this important collection of Roman material from the Central Sector of Hadrian’s Wall. It has case studies on Cilurnum (Chesters Roman Fort) as well as different groups of material showcasing the depth of the collection and its importance for our understanding of Hadrian’s Wall.

The next CBA North news email
The next CBA North news email will be with you soon – we already have a range of content set up for that, but further content – and comment on what we have already covered – is always welcome. If you would like to submit something, please let us know by emailing us at cbanorth@archaeologyuk.org.

Forthcoming lectures tonight and this week across CBA North

CBA North News
This week sees a number of events across the CBA North region. There are events in Berwick (this evening), Newcastle and Appleby (Wednesday and Thursday evenings respectively) on a range of project and sites inside and outside of our area, from groups inside and outside of our network. There is plenty to take your choice from, and more again to come soon as news to you. If you would like to submit anything of your local groups recent activities or plans for the summer please let us know.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
09.04.2018

Lost Lives, New Voices: Unlocking the stories of the Scottish soldiers at the Battle of Dunbar 1650
Richard Annis, Senior Archaeologist at Archaeological Services Durham University, writes to us giving us a foretaste of his Berwick lecture to the Border Archaeological Society [BAS in our events listing] tonight and whose results will appear in a forthcoming book and exhibition on these soldiers.

Janet at work; a photo by North News for Durham University

Richard writes;
“In November 2013, human bones were found during building work at Durham’s Palace Green. The excavation that followed found the skeletons of 28 young men in two mass graves. A long and painstaking archaeological project showed that they were some of over 1600 Scottish prisoners who lost their lives at Durham after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650.

“A new book, to be published this June, tells their story; their lives before the battle, how they came to Durham, how they died, and how they came to have disappeared from view for over 360 years. These were ordinary people, caught up in extraordinary events. As a result of the project, we know more about them than any comparable group from 17th-century Scotland. The story also looks at some of their fellow prisoners; men who survived their captivity and regained their freedom. Some went on to new lives, unimaginable to them before the battle that changed everything, in new landscapes on the edge of the known world.

“The exhibition Bodies of Evidence: How Science Unearthed Durham’s Dark Secret will be told in a major exhibition at Palace Green Library. This will run from 9th June to 7th October 2018, and covers the history, the archaeology and the science that underpinned the project”.

For further information on this multifaceted project, Members and Followers can read more on the Scottish Soldiers blog and see recent facial reconstruction work, putting the practices as also described in a previous BAS talk, a Youtube video.

Wednesday and Thursday’s lectures
On Wednesday, the 11th, our group member the Northumberland Archaeological Group will hear an update on The Peregrini Project: Excavations on Lindisfarne from Richard Carlton of The Archaeological Practice in their monthly Newcastle meeting.

On Thursday, the 12th, in Appleby our group the Appleby Archaeology Group will also hear of The Late Iron Age royal site at Stanwick, North Yorkshire: new perspectives by Professor Colin Haselgrove of Leicester University. At both meetings visitors are most welcome to attend. Details as to the venues and times of all these meetings can be found online through our Local Societies and Groups page of our website here.

Archaeology and the small finds of North-East England

A quick reminder that there is still time to book a place at this conference covered in our last email to you. If you would like to attend please follow this link or see  http://www.aasdn.org.uk/NEarch18.htm for further details.

CBA North’s joint April Conference: Archaeology and the small finds of North-East England

CBA North News
We are delighted to announce the first of the ‘big’ conferences in CBA North region to you as Archaeology and the small finds of North-East England. This is one that we are jointly supporting with the Finds Research Group, our group member the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland as well as Durham University.

Below are details of the programme which covers all periods between the Anglo-Saxon and the 19th century, across much of our region from Coquetdale to Teesside (and just over into Yarm) where specifically named and more besides, this conference promises to be a most interesting and fully packed day. Details on how to book a discounted place as a CBA North member are given below, clicking on the posters will take you to the online booking page.

In case you would like to forward this information onto others, please use the links in the left-hand portion of this email or you can send on the link http://www.aasdn.org.uk/NEarch18.htm.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
03.04.2018

Archaeology and the small finds of North-East England

Various CBA North Committee members will be there, with various discounted books for sale from £2 to £20 on various topics as well, so feel free to have a word with us or at any other time.

Further details on our co-partners for this conference can be found through the various links below;

The Finds Research Group promotes  the study of artefacts from archaeological sites dating from the post-Roman period onwards. It is well-known, even outside finds circles, for producing many datasheets summarising particular classes of objects – some of which can now be downloaded from their website.

– Durham University, and indeed its archaeology department, is no stranger to appearing in CBA North’s materials over many years. Current information on the department can be found online here.

– our group member the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland will be already familiar to you as we’ve announced their various lectures in the past. As a follow-on from the conference on the following day their regular meeting is also given over to a finds-based theme; Dr Eleanor Standley will be giving the lecture Spinning yarns and skinning rabbits in the later Medieval period: new contributions to the archaeology of religion, sexuality and daily life.

CBA National’s Community Archaeology Survey
Readers will recall our last email carried the news of, and link to, a survey of community archaeology. The deadline for this survey has now been extended to Sunday 8 April 2018. Here is the link again in case you have yet to fill in the survey, or can send it to someone else,  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CBA_Community_archaeology_2018. Please fill in this survey if you have the time!

Wear-based archaeology next week

CBA North News
Today quick news of two events which may be of particular interest to those in the Sunderland and County Durham area.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
20.10.2017

North Hylton Community Archaeology Dig
This is an opportunity for both adults and children to take part in fieldwalking, trial trenching (small test pits for children) and finds washing. No experience is necessary, training will be provided by professional archaeologists from Wardell Armstrong and all equipment will be provided.

The purpose of the work is to investigate the cropmark visible above on aerial photographs. This project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The archaeological work will run from Monday 23rd October until 3rd November. Volunteers can attend for as few or as many days as they wish, but they do need to book a place. If you are interested please contact;

Frank Giecco     fgiecco@wardell-armstrong.com

Norman Kirtlan     sunderlandsforgottenstones@gmail.com

Further information on the project can be found at Sunderland’s Forgotten Stones website here.

The Durham River Wear Assemblage Project
Also next week is a lecture on finds from the Durham River Wear Assemblage Project.

Further information on the project can be found on here in the pages of the Department of Archaeology, Durham University.

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.”

Medieval and Renaissance Durham

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Medieval and Renaissance Durham Community Course:
Drama, Ritual, Storytelling and People
Wednesday, 4 May 2016 to Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The full course is offered at a charge of £41.00 per person, please click here to register.
Please note registration for the course will close on Thursday 28th April 2016.

If you’re interested in the history of the people and stories of Medieval and Renaissance Durham, consider joining us for an exciting new series, proudly offered by Durham University’s Medieval and Early Modern Student Association.

This year’s ‘Community Course’ (led by our team of specialist Durham-based researchers) will be made up of eight sessions covering an interesting range of topics, broadly following the themes of performance, ritual, storytelling of the people of the North East.

This is a course for anyone who wants to learn a little more about our region, whether you’re a complete beginner, or already know a fair amount about the North East during this interesting period. Our sessions will be relaxed and informal with plenty of tea and coffee, so sign up and come along!

The course consists of eight weekly sessions as follows (full details are available here):

• Wednesday 4 May 2016, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
• Wednesday 11 May 2016, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
• Wednesday 18 May 2016, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
• Wednesday 25 May 2016, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
• Wednesday 8 June 2016, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
• Wednesday 15 June 2016, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
• Wednesday 22 June 2016, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
• Wednesday 29 June 2016, 7:00pm – 9:00pm

For further details please see the attached poster or contact: durhamcommunitycourse2016@gmail.com.