Tag Archives: fieldwork

CBA North: Start of April newsletter

CBA North News
In this issue we have the details of the April events soon to come your way, as well as news from a number of projects and publications from across CBA North-land from four of our local group members. This email was drafted out on Saint Cuthbert’s Day, and like him we criss-cross the region in what news we have to share.


From Cumbria we have a summary of the Appleby Archaeology Group’s investigations across their local golf course (including rare Bronze Age evidence) whilst from Northumberland we have an update on the Border Roads Project of Coquetdale Community Archaeology. Members may recall the fieldwork and plans for both of these projects, here we now report upon their successful completion and publication.

From two other of our group members, the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland once again and the Northumberland Archaeological Group we have notices of their own recent publications. The contents of both volumes also listed for you here as well.

Please feel free to circulate our news around your own contacts and groups. We hope that our next email to you will be out mid-month, next month, reporting further news from across the region.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
31.03.2019

April Events 2019
1 April – The Enigmatic Trusty’s Hill: Royal Capital of Rheged, Dr Chris Bowles [BAS]

3 April – AGM and An Update on the 2018 Mardon Excavation, Richard Carlton [TILLVAS]
8 April – Lowick Races (Horses, Bikes and Athletics) and the Lowick Feast 19th-20th centuries, Julie Gibbs and cast [Lowick Heritage Group]
8 April – Mediaeval village landscape in Cumbria, David Johnson [LUNESDALE]
9 April – Cold War to Coal Trains – TOPS, British Railways’ First Computer Train Operating System, Johnathan Aylen [NEWCOMEN]
10 April – A History of Alnwick Castle Gardens as revealed through excavation and building recording, Jenny Proctor [NAG]
11 April – A Roman bath house at Stanwix, Frank Giecco [APPLEBY]
11 April – The Eslington Sword, Prof Sam Turner [CCA]
24 April – Magnificent Women and the Revolutionary Machine; The extraordinary individuals who founded the Women’s Engineering Society in 1919, Henrietta Heald [SOCANTS]
25 April – Annual General Meeting and Chairman’s Choice [Tyneside Industrial Archaeology Group]
27 April – Long Meg and her Daughters, Paul Frodsham [ALTOGETHER]
27 April – Living in Harm’s Way: Further reflections on the Development of Hornby Castle, Wensleydale 1000-1700, Erik Matthews [ARCH & ARCH]

[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.]

Appleby Archaeology Group: Fieldwork on the Green
Our CBA North AGM in 2016 included a talk from our group member the Appleby Archaeology Group on their forthcoming Dig Appleby which we covered in a later email to you. However the group’s previous project has now been published. Here Martin Railton, Research Officer of the group, gives us a summary of their project;

‘Between 2009 and 2013 the Appleby Archaeology Group carried out a number of small-scale surveys and excavations across a range of monuments located at Brackenber Moor adjacent to the Appleby Golf Course. Despite the hazards of flying golf balls and more, the group carried out both geophysical surveys and excavations of a range of features in the area. Some of these features were freshly identified by the group during the survey carried out in 2009,whilst others had been known about – albeit misidentified – in the archaeological literature for some time.

The highlight of the excavation aimed to record the details of one of these earlier recorded sites – a roughly circular flat area, partly surrounded by a pair of crescent-shaped ditches, was thought to be one of the chain of Roman signal stations that operated between the Stainmore Pass and the larger Roman roads to the west and east. The large post-holes and structure of a signal station were expected. However our excavations revealed this to be a different type of monument altogether and one much, by thousands of years, older.

The feature was revealed to be an enclosed cremation cemetery – a funerary monument typical of the Early Bronze Age. Our excavations across the centre of monument revealed a number of pits, some containing human cremated remains and prehistoric pottery dating to the Bronze Age. Samples were taken at the time of excavation and only now, following the post-excavation process, can a fuller story of the monument be told. This appears to have been a multi-phase monument and, surprisingly, extending into Middle Bronze Age times from the radiocarbon dating of samples of human bone. These yielded a date of 1740 to 1630 BC when sampled at the SUERC lab. This was quite surprising when nationally evidence of funerary activity starts to disappear.

Other sites were sampled, but perhaps none with so spectacular results as the cremation cemetery. These included a scheduled cairn of likely Bronze Age date, which revealed evidence for earlier Mesolithic and Neolithic activity in the vicinity. Our fieldwork was carried out by the group in conjunction with the North Pennines AONB Altogether Archaeology Project with support from Wardell Armstrong Archaeology. We are grateful to them for their support and the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society for funding the post-excavation work, without which the Transactions article could not have been published’.

[The full excavation report can be read in the most recent Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society (3rd series volume 18), Ed.].

The Border Roads Project: Taking the High Road
David Jones, Secretary of Coquetdale Community Archaeology, reports on their recent work as The Border Roads Project. He writes;

‘Based in North Northumberland, Coquetdale Community Archaeology (CCA) was founded in 2008 at the conclusion of a community archaeology project funded by the Northumberland National Park Authority. One of its first major projects as an independent group was the identification and excavation of a thirteenth-century fulling mill on the River Coquet at Barrowburn, about five miles upstream from Alwinton. Built by the Newminster monks from Morpeth, the project uncovered one of the best-preserved medieval wheel pits in the country, with a wheel configuration otherwise known only from the sixteenth century.

The project was a success, with large numbers of volunteers, many visitors, and two papers in Archaeologia Aeliana. But rather than rest on their laurels, CCA decided to follow this up with a broader initiative, one that would include not just excavation, but also walking, photography, surveying, research, design and writing.

The Border Roads project, reported in earlier CBA newsletters and funded by the HLF and the National Park, started in 2014 and ended in December. Its focus was on the rich set of archaeology found along the Border Roads – the ancient routes through the Cheviots such as Dere Street, Clennell Street and The Street that connect what are now England and Scotland.

The purpose of the project was to research and document this archaeology, but above all to communicate its presence to as wide an audience as possible. It’s very clear that many people who visit the hills are unaware of the history they are moving through – walking past ridges, shapes and ruins in the landscape without any real idea of what they are missing.

So CCA teams delved into archives, travelled the roads and planned walks and tours. There were excavations too – four different sites in the five summers of the project, often two in one year. There were four seasons of work at a site by the Hepden Burn, where an unprepossessing rectangular earthwork was found to conceal not only a seventeenth-century agricultural building but, under that, a carefully-laid paved medieval floor.

This site has been the subject of a recent excavation report in Medieval Archaeology (Nolan and Jones, 2018 volume 62/2 in the Fieldwork Highlights for 2017).

Excavation has now started on a scheduled site at the deserted settlement of Linbrig, also by the Coquet. Although the Border Roads project has finished, this work will continue until 2020, with the objective of looking at several structures on the site, including what are probably farmhouses and a corn drying kiln.

With its focus on communication, the project has produced a website (www.border-roads.org/) and two books. The first of these – The Old Tracks through the Cheviots – weighs in at over 200 pages. Its early chapters cover the history of the hills, the records left about them and the types of structures found there. Then each route is examined in turn, with details of the archaeology along them.
The second book – Walking the Old Tracks of the Cheviots – is a portable ring-bound guide to nine carefully-documented walks on either side of the border. Again in full colour and designed to be carried out on the hills, it provides detailed route instructions and precise map references, as well descriptions and histories of what people might otherwise miss.

Both books are available from book shops, on-line from the usual suspects, or direct from the publisher, Northern Heritage.

With all the work that’s gone into it, the involvement of over 90 volunteers and the outputs described, it’s clear the project has been a success. Other people think so too. In November CCA won a competition organised by National Parks UK for their Volunteer Project of the Year. Open to all volunteer projects across the country, and for any kind of work in a National Park, the award brought not only a trophy, but a bursary of £1000 to help CCA continue its work’.

Recent publications 1: Durham Archaeological Journal 21
Also fairly hot off the press our group members the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland – the ‘Arch & Arch’ – who reported their 2018 activities in our last issue, have published the latest volume of their Durham Archaeological Journal

The varied contents of volume 21 include the following;

The excavation of an Anglo-Saxon arable enclosure at Easington, County Durham by Kevin Horsley, 1-5
Hexham Abbey, Northumberland: archaeological excavation, monitoring and historic building recording 2012-14 by Richard Carlton and Peter Ryder, 6-81
A late medieval pectoral cross recovered from the River Wear near Elvet Bridge, Durham City by Gary Bankhead, 83-102
Kepier water-mill, Durham City: a conjectural reconstruction by John M Coffey, 103-134
Hebburn Hall, South Tyneside by Richard Pears, 135-165
Forgotten antiquarians? William Greenwell and his northern contemporaries by Rob Young, 167-186

[Members who attended our various Hexham meetings in 2013 will recall the archaeological work required in advance of the development of the Abbey Centre. It is those pieces of work that are reported in the Hexham Abbey article of this issue, Ed.].

Recent publications 2: Northern Archaeology 23
Gordon Moir, Editor for the Northumberland Archaeological Group, gives us details of their latest Northern Archaeology. He writes;

‘The Northumberland Archaeological Group (NAG) announces the recent publication of volume 23 of its journal Northern Archaeology. This volume is dedicated to the memory of Colin Burgess, the founder of NAG, who died in 2014. Contents relate to the archaeological life of Colin and the work he directed in Portugal; it includes colour pictures, maps, diagrams and plans, is printed on high quality cartridge paper and with a paper binding.
 
Copies may be purchased from the Editor: Gordon Moir, 7 Albury Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 3PE; gordon.moir@blueyonder.co.uk ; 0191 284 5062. The prices are: in the UK £17 which includes postage and packing; within Europe (which includes Eire) £21 and for the rest of the world £25. These costs are for both Institutions and individuals. Cheques should be made payable to “Northumberland Archaeological Group”. For details of bank transfer contact the Editor.

The contents are:
Editorial, iii-iv
A later-20th century mould for casting a Bronze Age from the north-east of England; A life of Colin Burgess
by Roger Miket, 1-21
Colin Burgess: a Bibliography, 23-34
Colin Burgess and the Bronze Age Studies Group by John Waddell, 35-40
NAG: The First Twenty-Five Years, 1973-1998 by Gordon Moir, 41-54
Archaeological Work in the Évora Area – Preamble by Gordon Moir, 55-56
The Évora Project 1986-91, 1993 by Frances Lynch, 57-60
The Megalithic Tomb Survey by Frances Lynch, 61-77
Excavations and Survey at Monte do Casão, 1990 by Anthony Harding and Melanie Pomeroy, 79-84
The Late Bronze and Iron Age enclosures of the Évora region by Catriona Gibson, 85-95
The Search for the Roman hinterland of Évora: thirty years on by Steven Willis, 97-106
Évora Archaeological Survey: Fieldwalking by Margaret Maddison, 107-118
The impact of the Évora Archaeological Survey (EAS) project in Portuguese Archaeology by Virgílio Hipólito Correia, 119-124

The Bibliography is an augmented and extended version of those published previously.

 
Colin in France, April 2013, on his last Archaeotrekker’s trip, at La Chaire à Calvin, near Angouleme.

Corrections
Our last email noted the changes made for the Local Societies and Groups website page for the Northern Archaeological Group, rather this should have been the Northern Archaeology Group. In case of any other alterations to this, or any other website page, please let us know by emailing cbanorth@archaeologyuk.org.

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Events & Exhibitions in May & June across CBA North-land

CBA North News
Apologies for the delay in sending you further news of events across CBA North-land for May and June. As you will see it is something of a bumper issue with many different events coming up soon. Another similarly-sized email is already in preparation with yet more events and announcements to come. Some of these events will bring up-to-date findings from recent research and projects following on from previous emails to you, some deal with new topics different again. For some of these events you will need to book up.

As many of you will know the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will take effect soon. We will be emailing everyone on what GDPR means for us to hold and process your information, and more importantly for you to continue to receive CBA North news and information. Further details for these will appear in time on the CBA North website as well to accord with these regulations. However if you you have any immediate questions, please feel free to let us know of them.

Once again, if you would like to submit anything on your local group’s recent activities or plans for this summer, please let us know. Keep an eye to our Events page on the website for any additions to the regular talks and lectures of various groups across the CBA North region. Additions to this page are made throughout the year as we know of them.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
13.05.2018

Events this week
1) Border Archaeological Society lecture: Finding a Lost Lindisfarne Estate 
There are a number of events coming up this week. These are located in all parts of our region, they start tomorrow night at Berwick with the next of the Border Archaeological Society’s [BAS] lectures. Josie McChrystal, their Secretary, gives us some more details of what promises to be an interesting talk.

Josie informs us that;

“In the early years, the Lindisfarne monastery built up a huge land holding in Northumberland and southern Scotland but in the troubled times of the Viking era some of these lands were taken away from them. Later writers referred to these lands without knowing much about them. We will discover one of these estates in mid-Northumberland on Monday evening.  

The renowned archaeologist Colm O’Brien will be the speaker on this occasion. He has excavated in Northumberland and taught at the universities of Newcastle and Sunderland. He is especially interested in the Age of Bede and now, in retirement, he co-directs the Bernician Studies Group, a community learning group with projects in Northumberland and in County Donegal in Ireland.

As ever, the lecture begins at 7.30 at Berwick Parish Church Hall (Holy Trinity) off The Parade, TD15 1DF. Please tell your family and friends about what promises to be a very interesting evening. All are welcome”.

2) The First World War in the Tees Valley Conference
Dave Errickson, Chair of Teesside Archaeological Society [TAS] one of our group members, has let us know of another event. Members will remember our previous note of our Home Front Legacy workshop in 2015 which highlighted ways groups could look out for and record First World War sites. In contrast to Lindisfarne and the north of our region, this concentrates upon these more modern sites in the south of our region and includes work carried out by the TAS group and others on Teesside recording them. All the talks in this free conference relate to the First World War in some way. The conference is in Middlesbrough and on Saturday this week, but you will need to book places for this. They can be obtained from this Eventbrite page here.

3) North East Ancient Egypt Society lecture: Tell Timai and its Terracotta Figures
Also on Saturday, but in Newcastle, is also the next lecture of the North East Ancient Egypt Society on something different again.

The first Tyne and Wear Archaeology Day
Jennifer Morrison, Tyne and Wear Archaeological Officer, has sent us details of the first Tyne and Wear Archaeology Day which is coming up soon in next month on Saturday, 16 June.

Again you will need to book and again this is a fully packed day. However in this case, whilst all are from the Tyne and Wear area, the talks cover a range of topics including;

– Prehistoric settlements found at East Wideopen and West Shiremoor in North Tyneside
– Roman industrial remains found at Dorcas Avenue in Benwell
– The Roman Wallquest Community Archaeology Project at Benwell, Wallsend (including the newly discovered Roman baths) and South Shields
– Industrial archaeology of the Newcastle Pottery found at Pottery Lane/Forth Banks, Newcastle
– Industrial Archaeology of Ambrose Crowley’s Ironworks at Swalwell in Gateshead
– Crypt Archaeology and human remains found under a former Bethel Chapel in Villiers Street, Sunderland
– World War Two and Cold War Archaeology at Blakelaw and Kenton Bunkers

To book places details are given in the poster or through clicking the link here. In a fully packed day. Jennifer notes that “Most of the archaeological projects which will be discussed have been funded by developers through the planning process, and the aim of the day is to pass on the results of these exciting excavations to local residents”.

Following on from previous emails…
1) The next Dig Deeper talk

Previous CBA North emails have announced talks on forensics and facial reconstruction, as well as osteoarchaeology, for the meetings of various groups. The next Dig Deeper talk at Durham, later this month, will discuss some of the new approaches to looking at and recording old bones – sometimes at a distance to the original samples. 

2) Bodies of Evidence: How science unearthed Durham’s dark secret
Also bone-related our last email carried information about a talk on the Scottish soldiers from the 1650 Battle of Dunbar who had died and been buried at Durham by Richard Annis, once again at Berwick to the Border Archaeological Society in April. Andrew Millard, also of Durham University and involved with the Scottish Soldiers project, has written to us a bit more about the forthcoming exhibition and events associated with that project.

He writes on behalf of the project team in an update to April’s talk with what planned for this summer;

“This exhibition shows how the latest scientific techniques have revealed the soldiers’ story – how they lived, why they died, and what became of those who survived.

Their skeletons were discovered during excavations in Durham in November 2013 and, for the first time, visitors to Palace Green Library will come face to face with a 3D reconstruction of the face of one of these men in the exhibition. The exhibition also tells the story of those survivors who were transported across the Atlantic to the edge of the known world. These men lived to have families and we are proud to have connected with many descendants, and we hope that descendants will be able to visit us and the exhibition in Durham this summer.

Running alongside the exhibition will be a programme of events, including family activities, public lectures, and the new production Woven Bones from Cap-a-Pie theatre company. The play will tell the story of the Scottish soldiers, and will tour venues along the route marched from Dunbar to Durham. Details of the production can be found on the Cap-a-Pie website.

Key highlights of this programme of events so far include:

– 18th June: Evening gallery opening with Professor Chris Gerrard, Project Lead for the Scottish Soldiers Archaeology Project
– 30th July: Evening lecture by Dr David Caldwell, President of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
– 13th August: Evening lecture by Professor Caroline Wilkinson, Director of Face Lab, Liverpool John Moores University, which produced the facial reconstruction
– 3rd September: Evening lecture by Arran Johnston, Founding Director of the Scottish Battlefields Trust

The Scottish Soldiers Archaeology Project Team would be delighted to welcome descendants to the exhibition and would be pleased to arrange private tours with members of the Team, so please do let us know if you are planning a visit by emailing Scottish.soldiers@durham.ac.uk. We recognise that Durham is a long way to travel for many of you, and so we are developing a small sister touring exhibition which will visit venues in the United States. More information about this touring exhibition will be made available in due course.

Further details and more events will be announced soon. Visit our website to find out more about the exhibition.

A book documenting the archaeology of the discovery, the process of analysis, and the history of the Scottish soldiers, including stories of the survivors, has also been produced by the Project Team and will be available in the coming months. Visit Oxbow Books to find out more about the book here.

We hope to see you this summer.

Kind regards,

The Scottish Soldiers Archaeology Project Team & Exhibition Curatorial Team”.

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.

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

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.”

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.