Tag Archives: Lake District National Park

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.

An A, B and C of archaeology across CBA North

CBA North News

Another month comes, as does another CBA North email. This time round we have another range from across the CBA North region of what is happening and has happened. We take our prompts today from our own initials with announcements for a coffee morning (complete with archaeological display) and a report on the Coniston Copper project for the ‘C’s, an announcement for an Alpine axeheads lecture as well as a note from the Arbeia Society for the ‘A’s.

Where the ‘B’ you might well ask? That is the behind the scenes ‘busy’ that Committee are in preparing such emails, as well as our own events in April and May, for you. We hope that you will also be busy in attending these events of your own and other local groups. Hopefully the next CBA North email will be out to you by this time next week with some further news.

Nonetheless our best wishes,

CBA North Committee, 06.02.2017

TillVAS Coffee Morning
[The weekend coming up has two events; this is the first of the two posters for you – Ed].

The Coniston Copper Project: Penny Rigg
[Members will recall that we put out a call for volunteers for this project during the summer of last year. This article, contributed by Penny Middleton of Northern Archaeological Associates, details the work carried out so far, Ed.]

“In August 2016 local volunteers from the Lake District National Park, working together with specialists from Northern Archaeological Associates (NAA), undertook a survey of the remains of Penny Rigg copper mill, near Coniston (NGR NY 30656 00695). The mill is prime example of a single-phase, medium-sized, ore dressing and processing plant, associated with Tilberthwaite copper mine. The project was funded by the HLF as part of the Coniston Copper Project; a two-year programme administered by the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA), which aims to engage the local people in the history and conservation of the areas’ nationally important mining heritage.


The view across the site
 
Tilberthwaite copper mine was first worked under the auspices of the Mines Royal, during the in the Elizabethan period but mined only sporadically after this until taken over by John Barratt, former manager at the nearby Coniston copper mine, in the mid-19th century. Barratt drove a new adit – Horse Crag Level – 1,039 yard (950m) from Penny Rigg to Tilberthwaite to intersect the valuable North Vein. This was intended to improve both transportation and drainage to the mine, and was anticipated to take seven years at a cost of £3,000. However, from the outset the venture was beset with problems, eventually taking 10 years to complete at an undisclosed cost considerably which was significantly over the original initial estimate.
 
Ore from the mine was loaded onto wagons and brought through Horse Level to Penny Rigg, where Barratt and his partners invested in the construction of a new copper mill. Here the ore was sorted, crushed and processed before being sent for smelting. Work on the mill is believed to have begun in 1864 and completed by 1867-68 but it did not remain in operation long, closing soon after the sale of the mine in 1875. The mill later re-opened briefly in the early 1890s, but closed again in 1892, after which the plant was dismantled and the wheel sold for scrap.


The remains of the crushing mill 

Today, the 1.5ha site comprises the semi-ruinous remains a number of buildings – the crusher house and dressing mill, smithy and powder house – as well as various terraces, two settling ponds, leats, holding pond, spoil tips and tracks, all of which are overlain in part by later quarry waste. The entrance to the Horse Crag Level remains visible and the tunnel has recently been cleared by the Cumbria Amenity Trust Mining History Society (CATMHS), although it is unsafe to access without appropriate equipment and supervision. To the north of the site are the expansive remains of Penny Rigg (Horse Crag) quarry, worked commercially since the mid-18th century.


Rectified photographic survey using a total station

The aim of the community survey was twofold. Firstly, to engage local volunteers in the history and conservation of the site through providing practical, hands-on training, and secondly, to prepare a detailed analytical survey (Historic England Level 2/3) of the surface earthworks and structures. The latter was required to inform a subsequent phase of building conservation. A comprehensive record of the complex was made comprising a topographic, earthwork and building survey. The focus was on ensuring the volunteers received a firm grounding in traditional survey skills – plane table, tape and offset – which could be easily transferred to other mining sites in the area. The use of aerial drones, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), reflectorless total station theodolites (REDM), and rectified photography were also demonstrated.
 
A full copy of the report can be downloaded for free from the NAA website, or contact Penny Middleton at pm@naaheritage.com. If you interested in taking part in the Coniston Copper Project then please contact Eleanor Kingston at Eleanor.Kingston@lakedistrict.gov.uk or check the project website at http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/learning/archaeologyhistory/coniston-copper for details. Further survey work is planned for March at the site of Low Mill Bonsor for three weeks.


Plane table surveying 1

NAA would like to thank all the volunteers who took part for their enthusiasm and dedication throughout the three-week project. We are also indebted to CBA North and the Archaeological and Architectural Society of Durham and Northumberland for the loan of the plane table, and to Warren Allison and his colleagues at CATMHS for their knowledge, advice and support”.


Plane table survey 2

Local group round-up: The Arbeia Society
Paul Bidwell has sent us this small snippet on The Arbeia Society whose annual conference we publicised last year;

“The Society, apart from its re-enactment group, confines itself at present to arranging the annual conference and its publications, including the Arbeia Journal, but a range of new activities are being planned”.

[We look forward to hearing of those events, Ed.]

Alpine axeheads announcement
[As the second announcement for the weekend coming, here is the poster for the next lecture of our group member the ‘Arch & Arch’. This lecture covers these axes which have been found across Britain and Europe, but will also note their comparative rarity and the science that allows the axes to be traced to source, Ed.].

Other Events This Week
Other events this week also include;

6 February – Celts, Fraser Hunter [BAS]
8 February – Excavations at Hepden Burn and Kyloe Shin, John Nolan and Richard Carlton [CCA]
8 February – Prehistoric Life and Death at Lochinver, Philippa Cockburn [NAG]
9 February – The Prehistoric Origins of the A1(M), Dr Blaise Vyner [APPLEBY]
10 February – The Clayton Archaeological Collection, Frances McIntosh [WCAS]
13 February – The Neolithic in the North-West: What makes this region different?, Gill Hey [LUNESDALE]

Contact details for each of these local societies and groups can be found through our own website pages if you have any questions regarding their times and venues.

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