Tag Archives: Roman

The Willington Waggonway and two conferences – events this week

CBA North News
Events continue thick and fast!

With autumn quickly changing to winter our announcements change to notices and events summarising work carried out of previous projects and this year as well. This week’s events follow that trend, so here is a reminder of two events we’ve previously noticed, as well as a third in Scotland, which might be of interest to you.

We already have details for 2018 events from some of the local groups. If you would like to send round details of your group’s events for what is the most read of our emails at the start of the year for everyone else to see, please feel free to send them on.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
13.11.2017

The Willington Waggonway

The Arbeia Society Conference

Edinburgh, Lothian and Borders Archaeology Conference
Here’s another event also happening on Saturday which might also be of interest.

The programme for this day can be found here. Online bookings can be made here.

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Another open day – Morley Hill enclosures tomorrow!

CBA North News
We covered an open day for the Roman bath house at Carlisle earlier in the month, here is some last minute news of an open day on a prehistoric site in North Tyneside tomorrow for you!

More news to come next week.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
27.10.2017

Morley Hill enclosures excavation open day

Further events this weekend

CBA North News
Some last minute news of further events this weekend that might interest you. If you would like to attend the events organised by the Northumberland National Park on Saturday and Sunday, then you’ll need to book up today.

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee
13.10.2017

Northumberland National Park events
Northumberland National Park are running a pair of events this weekend. These are;

…and on Sunday there is a guided walk of Lordenshaw and Simonside. Again you will need to book up for this which you can do following this link.

The English Renaissance Herbal and its European Antecedents

On Saturday morning there is another lecture to be held by the Natural History Society of Northumbria. Marie Addyman will talk at 1030 at the Clore Suite, the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle, upon at the centuries of European and English precedents which local man William Turner of Morpeth, the ‘Father of English Botany’, drew upon in his A New Herball of 1551 to 1568.

Turner’s work is considered to be the first herbal in English to give accurate descriptions of the plants listed as well as their medical uses, but he did not invent the genre. This event includes a lecture and exhibition of materials held by the society.

A reminder about Saturday’s Arch & Arch lecture
In case you missed our earlier email with the change in details for the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland’s lecture, a quick reminder with the poster below for the change in details of Saturday afternoon’s lecture is below.

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.

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

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.

Archaeology is ACE across CBA North

CBA North News
Archaeology is ACE across CBA North! – but that, of course, is hardly news to our Members and Followers.

In this issue, however, we spell that out quite literally in an update from the Appleby Archaeology Group, a further notice of Coniston Copper with other Cumbrian Events as a first email to you with details of Festival of Archaeology events, as well as something in of a major event devoted to a single Exceptional Exhibit to be displayed at the Durham Museum of Archaeology. All are updates to pieces of work or follow-up’s on topics we have covered earlier in some way – whether in our emails or events – so perhaps this email should be titled ‘Archaeology is AAGCCCEEEE!’, but that would be a bit of a mouthful.

It is always the way perhaps? Nothing happens and then everything does, but we hope that is no bad thing. We hope that this is the first of other emails that we are going to send in quick succession and to report other news. There is so much happening at the moment across CBA North-land and if you think we should be covering something feel free to let us know what. The pictures at the bottom give you a hint of what is yet to come. Thoughts in advance for how we complete our alphabet of archaeology across CBA North for the Q, U, W, X, Y and Z gratefully received – we are working on it!

Best wishes,

CBA North Committee, 13.07.2017

DigAppleby: breaking the ground
Martin Joyce, Chair of the Appleby Archaeology Group, Members will recall gave us a talk at last year’s AGM in Corbridge of the group’s plans for fieldwork in 2016. Here he provides for us a 2017 update; the pictures come from the brochure mentioned below. The link for this brochure, at the bottom of the update, will take you to the full version if you would like to print a copy which can be folded up as a leaflet.

“Appleby Archaeology has just completed the first year of its multi-phase investigation into the history of Appleby. To mark the occasion we mounted an exhibition in the Tourist Information Centre in Appleby Town Hall. This has been a community project so we were keen to show the results and to feature pictures of all our volunteers in action.

The exhibition is timed to coincide with the Festival of Archaeology and will run until the end of July.

The project was very successful in capturing interest and support. Quite a few households proved keen to offer their back-gardens as test-pit sites. Our palaeography courses also proved very popular and we were lucky to be able to gain access to a variety of documents that revealed life in Medieval Appleby in a surprisingly vivid and immediate way.

A full report on the first year is available on our website at DigAppleby – Breaking the Ground.

This is a bit technical so we also produced a small colour brochure introducing and describing the work in more popular terms, that could be given away free by the Tourist Information Centre”.

DigAppleby’s project blog, including pictures of the display, can be found online here, and details of the Appleby Archaeology Group more generally through our own CBA North website pages.

Coniston Copper and other Cumbrian Events
Saturday sees the launch of this year’s Festival of Archaeology events all across the country and across CBA North-land as well from 15 to 30 July this year. There are a number of events covering topics that we’ve previous carried notice of – you will doubtless recall the picture below that we sent to you earlier in the year of the Coniston Copper mines sent to us by Penny Middleton of Northern Archaeological Associates.

If you didn’t get involved in the fieldwork project an event, as part of the Festival of Archaeology, is being held on Saturday 15 July at the Coniston Boating Centre between 11.00 and 15.30 as part of a mining heritage day. Further details can be found online here where further opportunities to get involved in fieldwork are also listed.

Other Cumbrian events can for the Festival of Archaeology can be found on this page, as well as for elsewhere.

The Lanchester Diploma: Britain’s first named sailor
Durham’s Museum of Archaeology also leads the charge of events for this year’s Festival of Archaeology. For those of you that weren’t at our AGM this year to hear about the Portable Antiquities Scheme, you have a chance to learn some more of the scheme – perhaps also have any of your finds identified as well – on Saturday with this event.

Such a find, indeed an exceptional one, which was reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme is the Lanchester diploma. Gemma Lewis of the Durham Museum of Archaeology has sent us details of an event relating this new exhibit for the museum. There are a few finds that really change what we know beyond their immediate surroundings  – this is one of them, and on first hearing of this the word “Blimey!” came to mind.

If you would like to attend the event on Thursday 20 July then please email archaeology.museum@durham.ac.uk.

A further event will also be held at the Museum on Saturday 29 July as well when the Roma Antiqua re-enactment group will be present between 11.00 and 15.00 to demonstrate the lives and skills of Roman soldiers. Further details on this event can be found here.