Tag Archives: Medieval

The Lake District, Japanese mines and more besides

CBA North News
Fieldwork may have slowed for the summer, if not stopped. Events, however, continue apace across the CBA North region. Last week saw the start of the Border Archaeological Society’s fresh season of lectures, this week sees other regular lecture series from the Appleby Archaeological Group, Northumberland Archaeological Group and Coquetdale Community Archaeology.

This week, and indeed the weekend, alone the very range of local events with topics ranging from prehistoric Japanese obsidian mines to Roman Scotland in the east of our region, whilst another talk and conferences look at more local matters in the northwest on Medieval grave slabs and recent archaeological work in the Lake District. Before all those listings, however, we’ve a short article upon the CARD Fund which might be of use to some of you if your fieldwork has now finished.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
11.10.2017

The CARD Fund
Clive Waddington, Director of Archaeological Research Services Ltd, writes on the CARD Fund which his organisation administers. He writes:

“The Community Archaeology Radiocarbon Dating (CARD) Fund was established in 2016 and is funded by Archaeological Research Services Ltd and the SUERC Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory. The fund supports the full cost of radiocarbon dates for community archaeology groups or projects. The fund is not open to universities, students, professional archaeological organisations or large national charities. It is directed specifically at community groups and volunteer projects seeking to obtain radiocarbon dates on key samples from sites they have investigated. For 2017 we will fund 10 to 20 radiocarbon dates. The application is straightforward and is all undertaken on-line. Please visit www.cardfund.org for more information and to apply. In 2016 the fund supported 7 projects and funded a total of 14 radiocarbon dates. The fund is open to applicants from across all of the UK and the closing date for applications each year is strictly 30th November. An applicant does not have to pay for the dates themselves as this is all done by ARS Ltd when we receive the dating samples.

‘I have always felt that it is crucial that archaeologists give back to society and support the amazing work that goes on in the wider community. We have worked with SUERC to establish a radiocarbon dating fund to assist the volunteer sector with obtaining much-needed dating evidence as we saw this as a way we could offer real practical help and maximise our support by making limited resources go as far as possible. We hope that community groups and projects will take advantage of this support and hopefully we can grow it over the coming years.’

SUERC’s Gordon Cook adds ‘A significant proportion of the money that comes to the radiocarbon laboratory is from commercial archaeology. This is our way of putting a little of that back into the system.’

Two recent projects helped by the fund range from Chewton Mendip, Somerset, where Anglo-Saxon industrial activities dated and the Rosemarkie Caves on the Black Isle, on the Moray Firth, Highland.


Blacksmith’s Cave where evidence for Early Medieval metalworking was uncovered

Here also the fund was used to date metal-working activities in the caves, as well as a 6th to 7th century (Pictish) burial. As yet, Clive notes, nowhere in the CBA North region has featured in applications to the fund.

Lake District National Park Archaeology Conference
The next summary of archaeological events this year takes place for the Lake District National Park. This year has seen a number of changes – not least of all World Heritage Site status for the area, as well as staff changes also. The conference at Keswick this year includes a varied set of talks with a summaries of the Lake District’s archaeology over the past year as well as since the appointment of the first park archaeologist, accounts of recent survey and excavations of Medieval longhouses as well as recent re-evaluation and radiocarbon dates for the area and county more generally.

The full programme, as well as details for tickets can be found in this webpage.

Other events this week
Here’s a list of the other events happening this week – indeed starting tonight!

Details as to venues and times can be found on the Local Societies and Groups page of our website.

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 – New Insights into Iron Age and Roman County Durham, 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]

Please feel free to know us any additions to our Events page (increasingly we are hearing of 2018 events which we are gathering up for the start of the year) and for any groups that you know that wish to be included in our listing.

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Our CBA North alphabet of archaeology continues: N and O

CBA North News
Today our CBA North alphabet of archaeology continues with the letters N and O. Taking the N’s we have a pair of articles describing recent work by CBA National on their projects the Local Heritage Engagement Network (LHEN) and Home Front Legacy (HFL) with which we have been involved. We also have brief notices of other open days – one tomorrow – for the First Linthaugh excavations, near Ford in Northumberland, which we also noted last year, as well as of others at Dilston Castle, which we’ve previously covered.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
18.08.2017

Local Heritage Engagement Network





More on the LHEN project can be found online here.

Open Day 1: First Linthaugh excavations
Members and Followers will recall we covered Dr Edwards talk at the Kirknewton Archaeology Festival on the Neolithic of the Milfield Basin last year. This year his excavations have continued at the north of the area at an adjacent enclosure. Here is a poster giving you a taster of what has been found so far.

The site is just to the south of Ford Bridge and the junction to Crookham on the B6354 and will be signposted.   Parking is permitted in the Fisherman’s Car Park  and on the grass verges, close to the track through to the dig on the opposite side of the road.   Please park sensibly and take care when crossing the road.

Home Front Legacy
It was back in August 2015 that we worked with CBA National to provide a training day for this national project in Durham, whilst readers may have also heard of the recent listing of the Stockton eavesdropping wireless station and many of the World War One war memorials across our region. Here is some news on what is happening in August for the project.





More details on this project can be found here.

Open Day 2: Dilston Castle and Chapel
Members and Followers may also be interested to take up this offer to visit Dilston Castle the seat of the ill-fated Jacobite Derwentwater family.

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.

A pair of lectures this week

CBA North News
A short email to say that we haven’t forgotten about CBA North’s Member and Followers over the summer. Committee Members, as ever, have been full of busy gathering news and talking with contacts on behalf of the group and you our members.

Whilst some groups have stopped their lectures for a summer break or perhaps fieldwork, we have continued to add information to our Events pages as they have become known to us. Please let us know of your events at any time so we can publicise to others – if you would like to submit something we’ve some draft technical notes for contributors which outline what our various communication methods will and will not allow (and guinea-pigs for these are sought) Increasingly we are hearing of 2018 events, but there are plenty 2017 events yet to come – indeed, there are two this week as it is.

At Stockton tonight and Newcastle tomorrow are two lectures we’ve publicised earlier in that Events page. These are Pons Aelius to Pandon by Jennifer Morrison as the Teesside Archaeological Society lecture and Romano-British glass bangles: a reappraisal as The Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne lecture by Tatiana Ivleva respectively.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee, 27.06.2017

Exploring Northumbria: Trip to Holy Island/Lindisfarne

We’ve just had notice of this trip that is organised by Newcastle University on Saturday. If you aren’t going to any of the many other events that we’ve recently carried notice of – in Cumbria, Lancaster, Lindisfarne (in a different guise) or Durham in previous emails to our Members and Followers – this might appeal to you. If you would like to go, please contact Dr Phillippo direct for further details through her contacts details here as soon as possible.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee, 02.03.2017

Dear everyone,

   Our next trip in our ‘Exploring classical and historical Northumbria’ series is this coming *Saturday* (note different day to usual), 4th March, to Holy Island and Lindisfarne Priory, one of Northumbria’s highlights. 

*Saturday* 4th March: Holy Island and Lindisfarne Priory (all day)
Start: c. 8.30.  Return by 7.35 p.m.
Cost: £9.70 for all-day NE Explorer ticket, plus any refreshments; entry to sites free.

•       From early Saxon times, the cradle of Northumbrian and British Christianity, and at the heart of Northumbria’s ‘Golden Age’; the celebrated Lindisfarne gospels were created here;
•       Stories of saints, kings and saintly kings, including mobile heads and a friendly raven; and decidedly unsaintly (and unfriendly) Vikings…
•       A tidal causeway, evocative priory ruins, and some of the best coastal scenery in England; also (from outside!) Elizabethan castle (with guest appearances in films such as ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’…!)

For, with the flow and ebb, its style
Varies from continent to isle;         
Dry-shod, o’er sands, twice every day,
The pilgrims to the shrine find way;  
Twice every day, the waves efface  
Of staves and sandalled feet the trace.  
[…]       
Higher and higher rose to view
The castle with its battled walls.
The ancient monastery’s halls,
A solemn, huge, and dark red pile,  
Placed on the margin of the isle.  (Sir Walter Scott, *Marmion*)

Schedule: 
Meet at Haymarket bus station (outside M&S) stand Q, *no later* than 8.30 and preferably by at least 8.25 (bus leaves 8.33).
Change at Beal road end for Holy Island bus, arrive 11.05.
Explore priory ruins and museum (entry free under educational arrangement with English Heritage); also St Mary’s parish church, parts of which date back to the time of St. Aidan in the 7th C.
c. 1 p.m.: lunch in one of the local cafés (or bring your own packed lunch!)
c. 1.45: walk across the island for coastal views and a look at the Elizabethan Lindisfarne Castle (exterior only, sadly, as NT have closed it for refurbishment; still an impressive sight).
3.45 p.m.: catch bus back to Beal (safely ahead of the tide which cuts the island off twice daily!)
4-5.30: time for refreshments/food in Lindisfarne Inn before catching 17.33 bus to Newcstle (free tea/coffee refills on production of bus ticket!).
Arrive Newcastle 19.36.

*Bring warm clothing and robust footwear*: the island can be breezy even in fine weather; walking is mainly on well-marked paths but you may want to explore the shoreline and will need appropriate shoes or boots for that!

As always, you are very welcome just to turn up on the day, but it is useful to have some idea of numbers in advance so drop me an e-mail if you are interested in coming. Friends from outside the School are also welcome!

My mobile contact no. on the day: 07833 125747.  Let me know a contact number if you plan to use your own transport.
With all best wishes,
  (Dr) S. Phillippo

Further events around the CBA North region next week

CBA North News

Events continue at speed all across the CBA North region. Tonight sees the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle’s lecture on Medieval manuscripts whilst you’ll need to be quick to book by the end of this week for the Lancaster University Archaeology Forum for the first March weekend if your interests are more in the northwest of our extensive region.

We, like those manuscripts, also aim to illuminate you. In our case of what is happening across the North coming up soon. Next week, also coming at speed, covers the end of February and start of March means events of the Teesside Archaeological Society at the start of the week, the Till Valley Archaeological Society mid-week and also of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland in the weekend as well as the Forum just mentioned.

We have details of each and all below for you to take your pick in attending. Enjoy!

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee, 22.02.2017

Lancaster University 44th Annual Archaeology Forum
This year’s conference includes a number of talks that may be of interest to CBA North members interested in Cumbrian archaeology. These span the archaeological periods of Roman and Medieval on particular sites across Cumbria (Maryport’s temples and Furness Abbey, in further sites in the Duddon Valley and on an early archaeologist of the Urswick area) as well as talks on drones, LIDAR and the Portable Antiquities Scheme in long-standing projects spanning the CBA North and North West regions.

You will need to be quick to book. Details of the day, including further talks, can be found online here with links to the booking system and a map for the venue itself.

Dance of Death
The mystery of our earlier email ‘The Varied Landscapes Of The CBA North Region (And Beyond)’ sent to you on the 12 February is now explained by our group member the Teesside Archaeological Society as explained by David Errickson their Chair. The next lecture, as usual the last Tuesday of the month – the 28 February – at Stockton Library at 7.30 pm, is Death and Discovery.

This lecture will be by David Dance, now a freelance archaeologist, who will discuss the use of archaeology in forensic investigation, exploring the origins of forensic archaeology and its application in criminal investigations of missing or suspected dead persons, with a practical demonstration of forensic archaeology in action.

Further details of the group, and of the speaker, can be found online through the links of their website, accessible through our own webpage in our Local Societies and Groups entry.

The next TillVAS lecture
Later that week is the next TillVAS lecture. With thanks to Maureen Charlton, their Secretary, details are given in their poster below.

Whilst Coldingham might be outside the already large CBA North region there are many Early Medieval and Medieval connections of the various religious houses here to those within CBA North which this lecture might well cover.

(If one looks at the past then suggestions have been made to include the south of Scotland with the north of England at times – not just in the 1470s, but also in the 1970s a suggestion was made to increase the CBA North region!).

Architectural and Archaeological Society lecture
Our email of the 12 February included notice of an open day in Yorkshire following investigations of a Roman road linking with our region. Belinda Burke, Secretary of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland, another of our group members, sends us details of their next lecture which looks at another site connected by a Roman road – this time Dere Street – to our region.

Clashing dates and Future CBA North events
The 4 March, as we have covered today and in previous emails to you, will be a busy day – the Peregrini (covered in the 12 February email) and Lancaster University Conferences at opposite sides and ends of the region, in addition to the lecture immediately above, as well as CBA North Committee meeting in the morning. It is one of those days with lots clashing!

The agenda for the CBA North Committee will be finalising details for our own events with the dates we have already sent you as 29 April and 20 May – hopefully no clashes for those with anyone else, but if you don’t tell us we don’t necessarily know.

Save those dates if you can!

Hot off the press archaeological news

CBA North News

Today we have some events and notices hot off the press – we’ve notice of an open day in south-east Northumberland tomorrow, as well as the programme and notice for the opening of bookings of the ever popular annual Durham Archaeology Day on Monday. The regular events of local groups across the region, however, also continue on; Wednesday sees the next of The Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne’s series. This, and others, can be found listed in our Events page of our website.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee, 18.02.2017

Cresswell Community Archaeology Open-Day
Barry Mead and Archaeological Research Services write to us giving information of an open day tomorrow (Sunday) if you are in the Cresswell area of Northumberland. These excavations, whilst concentrating in the area of the Medieval pele, have revealed a range of evidence from the Mesolithic to the Modern. Details are given in the poster below.

County Durham Archaeology Day: Saturday 11 March 2017
David Mason and Tracey Donnelly of Durham County Council have provided these details of this year’s annual archaeology day in three weeks time. As ever this will be in the the Council Chamber and Durham Room, at County Hall in Durham. This year’s fascinating talks include:

– The Main Walled Garden at Auckland Castle: Repairs and Conservation.
Harry Beamish

– A Round House and a Counting House: Two Recent Historic Building Projects
Richard Annis

– Historic Building Recording at The Gates, Durham City
Tom Addyman

– Recent Archaeological Investigations in the North Pennines
Paul Frodsham

– The Balneum of Concangis: A Roman ‘villa’ Rediscovered at Chester-le-Street
David Mason

Time:             9:45am – 4:15pm

Cost:              £14.00 which includes buffet lunch, teas & coffees; £12.00 for full-time students, please let us know if you have any dietary requirements, or require a vegetarian lunch.

Tickets sell out very quickly so book early to avoid disappointment. Tickets will go on sale from 9.00am Monday 20th February.

To book and pay for a place online follow the link here and click Archaeology Day from the services listed or contact 03000 260000 if you wish to book and pay over the phone.

There will be displays by local societies and archaeological contractors as well as bookstalls in the adjacent Durham Room.

Events listed on the CBA North website
Our Events page continues to list further regular events throughout 2017. We’ll be sending out other news and notices of others events in our next email, if we can, next week.