Tag Archives: Festival of Archaeology

CBA North: July (Festival of Archaeology) special issue

CBA North News
As many of you will know the Festival of Archaeology for this year, till the 28 July, has now started – as has, at times, severe rain showers. Nonetheless across our region are a number of events planned. Indeed one of those events is today. Gillian Waters, the Festival Coordinator at CBA National, explains what is happening nationally below.

This year’s theme is archaeology and technology with some of our own local group members who have organised their own events to coincide with the Festival. Details of those events are given special mention below, but all link into technology – whether of that past or those of the present looking into the past – in some way. Other events, of course, are also happening and Pete Jackson has sent us details of a further event this Saturday. The 2019 Hadrian’s Wall Pilgrimage also starts Saturday, so lots of things happening and across CBA North-land to cater for all tastes.

Best wishes for the summer,

CBA North Committee
17.07.2019

Festival of Archaeology 2019
Gillian, as Festival Coordinator, writes; ‘The Festival of Archaeology is a UK-wide annual two-week event, coordinated by the Council for British Archaeology. It showcases the work of archaeologists and encourages people of all ages and abilities to engage with their own locality and heritage through archaeology. This year’s Festival will take place from 13 to 28 July 2019 and features special events hosted by hundreds of organisations across the UK with hidden sites to explore and new techniques to learn, with talks, tours, workshops, re-enactments, and activities for the archaeologically inclined of all ages.

This year the Council for British Archaeology is also organising on-line festival events – so that no matter where you are you can get involved in the Festival of Archaeology. On 17 July [today!] the CBA partners with the National Trust for #AskanArchaeologist. This live Twitter event gives you the chance to put your question to archaeologists from across the UK. On Youth Takeover Day on 22 July, our band of dedicated volunteers will be masterminding and coordinating the Council for British Archaeology’s social media streams. Volunteers will also be helping behind the scenes on A Day in Archaeology which takes place on the same day. Archaeologists will be showcasing the enormous variety of exciting career and volunteering opportunities that are available, as they post their own blogs and share details of their work.

Find out more details of the Festival on our website https://festival.archaeologyuk.org.

Whatever events you get involved with during the Festival of Archaeology let us know about it via social media with the hashtag #FestivalofArchaeology. You can keep up-to-the-minute with what is happening by keeping an eye to our own social media presences as per below;

Twitter: @archaeologyuk
Facebook: /archaeologyuk
Instagram: @archaeologyuk

To find out more about the work of the Council for British Archaeology visit our website: 
https://new.archaeologyuk.org/. For more information contact the CBA office on 01904 671417 or email festival2019@archaeologyuk.org.

If anyone wants more details that might be unavailable online, please feel free to email Gillian at gillianwaters@archaeologuk.org.

CBA North’s local group members: their own Festival activities
Some of our own local group members are running Festival activities this year across the region. These are by the Appleby Archaeology Group, the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland, as well as the Bamburgh Research Project.

Members who were at our 2016 Corbridge AGM will recall the two presentations following the AGM business by Martin Joyce of the Appleby Archaeology Group and Phil Bowyer of Tynedale Archaeology. Martin outlined the plans for the Dig Appleby project which this year continues in Dig Appleby Digging Deeper at two Medieval burgage plots at the site of the almshouses known as Saint Anne’s Hospital. If you wish to take part in the excavations, you will need to book – but visitors are welcome at any time. Further details can be found here.

Phil, back in 2016, outlined the recent work by his group in the Tynedale area, which has now extended into adjoining Redesdale. The prehistoric site at Rattenraw which the group has surveyed and reported here is now being excavated as part of the Revitalising Redesdale Landscape Partnership; this excavation is also open to volunteers, but again requires booking if you want to be involved. Contact details for this excavation can be found in the Festival’s pages here.

These events are happening next week, but in the meantime there are events this weekend as well. The Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland are holding their monthly lecture looking at more recent investigations of old technology.

Please note that this lecture is not in the usual location where the society holds it meetings, and later than normal also, but will be at Alington House as indicated in the poster above. Directions can be found on the Festival’s website pages here for those unfamiliar with Durham.

Meanwhile the Bamburgh Research Project‘s 2019 season is continuing. During the weekend there are a number of half-day tutorials on environmental archaeology using modern technology to examine the past and its varied technologies. For this you will also need to book; the Saturday is reportedly booking up fast, but in case you are interested there are also Sunday sessions available. Please contact the project through the details of this page if you are interested in taking part.

A new future for mining in the North Pennines?
Also technologically related Pete Jackson has sent us notes of a forthcoming meeting also on Saturday looking to establish another local group in the area. He writes a meeting will be from 1100 to 1430 at the Upper Weardale Town Hall at St Johns Chapel.

‘The purpose of the meeting is to discuss a proposal about setting up a new group for the North Pennines to share information, advice and opinions about the North Pennines mining industries. For this meeting we are defining the North Pennines Orefield as east of the River Eden, south of Hadrian’s Wall, west of the North East Coalfield and north of the Stainmore Pass.

It is proposed that such a group could facilitate the sharing of information within the community of historians, explorers, geologists and archaeologists, to encourage research about the mining industries and provide information to national and local government authorities, as well as land and property owners. This would build on the previous North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s Oresome project which the group could continue. You can read more about the proposals at http://northdalemine.uk/2019/04/23/north-pennines-mines-research-group/.

Car parking is available at the east end of the village, adjacent to the Anglican Church, and the bus service 101 runs by Weardale Motor Services from Bishop Auckland railway station. Though hot drinks will be available on the day, you should organise your own lunch. For further details please free to contact me, Pete Jackson, through email or phone 01388 527 532′.

CBA National – a change in address
CBA National have now moved location in York. Rather than being at Bootham, to the north of the minister and beyond the city walls, they are now located on the other side of the river and within the walls. Their address for postal correspondence is now;

CBA National
92 Micklegate
York
YO1 6JX

Other details for email, website and phone details, however, remain unchanged.

CBA National’s Book Sale (continued)

The CBA National book sale as reported in our last issue is, according to the grapevine, now continuing to the end of July. There remain a number of North-land relevant publications which can be bought for a fraction of their original prices. If you haven’t yet had a look, the online shop can be visited here.

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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.