Tag Archives: Heritage Lottery Fund

Lake District Archaeology Volunteer Network

Articles by Holly-Beavitt Pike of Lake District National Park.

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Reflections on History Phase 3

This year saw the completion of the Reflections on History project which is part of the Windermere Reflections programme currently being run by a partnership headed by the Environment Agency.  Windermere Reflections is a 3 year Heritage Lottery (HLF) funded community programme comprising 19 projects which address a range of issues from water quality to historic environment. Reflections on History has been jointly run by archaeological staff from the LDNPA and National Trust and has provided opportunities for local people to take part in archaeological survey and investigation of the industrial heritage of the Windermere area. This included examining the themes of woodland, water power and rocks and minerals. The first two phases were completed in 2011 and 2012 and phase three was completed this April with an examination of the archaeology of mines and quarries. Four sites were chosen for survey and investigation. These were Banks Quarry – a redundant slate quarry located in the Langdale Valley, Greenhead Gill Mine – the remains of a 16th century lead mine located near to Grasmere and the Fairfield and Providence Mines – both of which are iron mines said to have been worked c1700, also located in Grasmere.

see http://www.windermere-reflections.org.uk/

Volunteers Day

On Saturday 8 June a group of about 15 volunteers joined John Hodgson and Kasia Litwa at Hartsop Hall farm for a guided walk which was a part of the Lake District National Park Authority Volunteers Day 2013. Sites visited included a Roman-British settlement enclosed by a low bank, incorporating a number of massive glacial boulders and containing 6 or 7 hut circles. Adjacent to the settlement is a large buried mound probably dating from the Bronze Age and a medieval shieling – a longhouse with a small enclosure alongside once containing people and their animals. Lunch was eaten at Hoggett Gill, the site of a 17 Century lead smelter which comprises a stone building with the remains of a waterwheel pit, leat and chopwood kiln (for drying wood for smelting). The Hartsop Hall lead mines, viewed on the Second World War.

Archaeology and Photography workshop

On Tuesday 13 August Kasia delivered an Archaeology and Photography workshop to 17 archaeology volunteers. The aim of this one-day event was to raise awareness of the use of digital photography in the field of archaeology and to help the participants in developing their photographic skills and interests in the company of fellow volunteers in an informal and relaxed way. The workshop consisted of three sessions:

an introductory talk about the history of archaeological photography and the basics of photography and the use of a camera, and two hands-on sessions. Volunteers spent over an hour at the Duddon Furnace trying out different methods and procedures. After lunch they spent about an hour photographing and illustrating artefacts. The workshop was an introduction to the wide field of archaeological photography and Kasia hopes that it sparked a new interest among the participating volunteers.

Romans in Ravenglass

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The first season of the exciting Romans in Ravenglass project has now sadly come to end. Romans in Ravenglass is a partnership project between the Lake District National Park Authority, Muncaster Parish Council and the Muncaster Estate and is funded by the Heritage Lottery

Fund, the Copeland Community Fund and the LDNPA. During September volunteers were given an opportunity to understand more about the Roman Heritage of Ravenglass, concentrating on the vicus (civilian settlement) surrounding the fort. Archaeological investigations in the form of geophysical survey, field walking and the excavation of three trenches was carried out in order to determine the extent and layout of the civilian settlement.

News bulletin               http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/383159/Archaeology-Volunteers-Bulletin-No-2-Oct-2013.pdf

Website                    http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/caringfor/volunteering/archaeologyvolunteers

Email                          archvol@lake‐district.gov.uk

 

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Bamburgh Research Project

Exciting new finds at the Bradford Kaims wetland excavation by Graeme Young of the Bamburgh Research Project

Over the last few year the Bamburgh Research Project has been excavating at a wetland site at Bradford Kaims, some 5km to the west of Bamburgh Village, in parallel with the long term excavation at Bamburgh Castle. The new site has been investigated as part of an English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Project aimed at expanding community involvement and outreach as well as increasing our understanding of this fascinating landscape.

Geophysical survey, kindly donated by Geophysical Surveys of Bradford, and test pitting has revealed the presence of at least 12 burnt mounds. These lie around what would have been the dry ground around the former lake, now peat filled and covered by pasture.

This summer the unusually dry weather has been a real boon, allowing the extension of Trench 6, which contains the first burnt mound we discovered, down slope and into the peat layers. This burnt mound particularly intrigues us as an archaeomagnetic date on some fired clay around a stone hearth has been dated to 4230 BC, suggesting a very early mound indeed. Right below the mound and in the upper layers of peat we uncovered a round-wood timber platform, of some considerable extent. In fact we are yet to find north, south and west sides, but we do know that it extends for some metres in all of three directions.

Preserved organic remains from prehistory are rare discoveries, so this caused a  great deal of excitement. All the more so when a preserved wooden paddle was found lying on top of the timber platform. In addition to the paddle the recovery of Carinated Bowl pottery, from the layers above the paddle, provides additional dating evidence to support the early date of the mound. All things considered it looks like the paddle and platform date back to around 4000 BC.

Find out more about the Bamburgh Research Project and the Bamburgh Castle and Bradford Kaims sites on our blog

www.bamburghresearchproject.wordpress.com

www.bamburghresearchproject.co.uk

Opportunities to join the training excavation in June and July of 2014 are available, with details on the website under ‘field school’.

Archaeological Research Services Ltd

Race to record prehistoric site before secrets are lost by Philippa Cockburn and Clive Waddington, Archaeological Research Services Ltd

Rescued from the Sea is a Heritage Lottery Funded community archaeology project run in partnership between Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Archaeological Research Services Ltd and Northumberland County Council. It aims to rescue and record fragile prehistoric archaeological remains in the cliff face before they are eroded in to the sea. The site is precariously located in the dunes, just south of Amble on the North East coast.

The Project is currently in its post-excavation phase, now that the fieldwork has come to an end. The excavation enlisted the help of approximately 140 volunteers, 60 University students and 250 local school children who excavated and recorded the site before it was back-filled in mid-September.

Initially, the main focus of the site was the Bronze Age burial cairn, which archaeologists had known about since the early 1980s when human burials were first noticed eroding from the cliffs. Since then, and prior to the latest round of excavations, a number of human burials have been discovered along with some beautifully decorated pottery beakers. The most recent excavations found that just under half of the cairn remained and that it would have originally been 16m wide with three distinct construction phases. The fragmentary remains of a human burial were found within what was left of a disturbed and robbed-out cist.

Excavation of the western corner of the site revealed a stone-flagged surface and a number of dark stains in the sand which represented the remains of buildings, as well as three stone-lined hearths. Finds included a small copper ring, a whetstone and some Iron Age and imported Roman pottery sherds which place the house, and its associated features, in the later Iron Age and Romano-British periods.

Once the Iron Age and Bronze Age deposits had been excavated, a layer of sand and stones was found beneath the Bronze Age soil. It is thought this could represent a massive catastrophic storm surge event, or ‘tsunami’, although tests on this deposit are on-going as it is also possible that it could turn out to be the remnants of an ablation (melt out) till. A number of Mesolithic features had been dug into this layer including pits and two large shallow scoops which are interpreted as house scoops.

In addition, the excavation produced approximately 20,000 individual pieces of worked flint, some of which had been made into tools such as knives, scrapers and tiny barbs for arrowheads and spear heads. Many of these tools are typical of the Mesolithic period and will help to date the earlier deposits.

In addition to the archaeological work, a considerable amount of environmental research is being carried out to help understand what the past environment was like, how it compared to the present day, how sea levels have changed through time and what type of vegetation and wildlife occupied the area. Tying this in with the archaeological remains is an important objective of the project and will involve working closely with environmental scientists from Durham, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Southampton Universities.

The site will yield around 40-50 radiocarbon dates and this will allow for a detailed chronology of the site and surrounding environmental deposits to be produced. The post-excavation analyses should be completed by April 2014 with the site expected to be published in Autumn 2014. A TimeTeam documentary focusing on the site is to be broadcast on Channel 4 in the Spring.

http://www.nwt.org.uk/rescued-from-the-sea

http://www.archaeologicalresearchservices.com/projects/low-hauxley