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Altogether Archaeology News

Flint knapping with Dr Rob Young
A brilliant start to our activity programme for 2018. Over 20 Altogether Archaeology members braved a raw January morning to head out to Harehope Quarry in Weardale for a flint-knapping workshop led by our good friend Dr Rob Young. We started off in the warmth of the Harehope classroom where Rob introduced us to the materials used by our prehistoric ancestors to make tools and the techniques employed in their manufacture. Rob brought along a collection of stone tools for us to handle so that we could not only experience the feel of these objects but also examine in detail how tools developed over the millennia.

After a quick refreshment break we went outdoors into the quarry to try our hands at bashing some flint. Great fun but not as easy as it looks when done by an expert! I think it is safe to say that no polished axes emerged from our efforts but we came away with a deeper appreciation of the skills involved in stone age technology and greater knowledge of what the study of lithics can bring to archaeology.

This was the first experimental archaeology session we have organised and, judging by the response from participants, it certainly will not be the last. Our activity programme for the rest of the year is now in place and full details will be published shortly so please keep an eye on our Activities page. We hope to see you out with us in 2018.
Rob demonstrates the technique No Sue, its not scuba diving
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Neanderthal discoid axe Here is one I made earlier
News Record: 35     Updated: 13-01-2018 17:07:42

DIY Maps, LIDAR and 3-D Modelling
Most AA members will know Stephen Eastmead as the technical wizard who produces splendid pole camera images, LIDAR maps and 3-D models of Altogether Archaeology fieldwork sites and many other places of interest. Stephen has recently decided to share some of his extensive expertise in this field by writing a guide for people who want to learn how to record archaeology using a free to download geographical information system (QGIS). The guide contains step-by-step instructions which enable the user to obtain and process their own maps, LIDAR data and GPS waypoint or track data. It also contains an introduction to the art of using data to create 3-D models using SketchFab.

The guide has been tested by fellow AA member Sue Goldsborough who also helped Stephen with some of the editing. If you are interested in producing your own maps, LIDAR images and models then this publication is an absolute must. Stephen said that he decided to publish the guide because:

“Over the last few years as LIDAR data and software to process it became available, I found it quite difficult to find sufficiently detailed information to get me started. I am hoping this guide will help those who want to learn these skills. The QGIS knowledge gained can be used to process other archaeology data not just LIDAR. It will be interesting to see how useful other community archaeology groups find this document.”

The guide - Use of Geographical Information System (QGIS) in Basic Field Archaeology and LIDAR Processing - is available now as a PDF download. In return for downloading a copy Stephen is asking that a donation be made to Altogether Archaeology’s research fund which supports future fieldwork by the group in the North Pennines. Details of how to download the guide and make a donation can be found by following this link:

QGIS Guide

The AA Management Committee is extremely grateful to Stephen for gifting these donations to the group. Stephen is launching his publication at a CBA Yorkshire conference in York on Saturday 4th November where he is leading a workshop on this subject. With typical generosity he is also donating his speaker’s fee to our research fund.

Thank you Stephen!
Stephen Eastmead Guide now available
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Stephen using a pole camera at Holwick Composite image of Trench 1 at Holwick using multiple pole camera shots
News Record: 34     Updated: 02-11-2017 18:30:46

Has anybody seen our missing centuries? 
In the North Pennines we have evidence of Roman occupation, and then a few hundred years later we can see the evidence of settlement in the later medieval period. What we don't know much about is what happened in between. Altogether Archaeology is hoping to secure funding to explore these ‘missing centuries’ in our area, and we'd like your feedback to help support our plans.

We are hoping to have a series of surveys and digs to look for signs of early medieval settlement. In other words, the period we will be concentrating on is, roughly speaking, the 5th to the 10th centuries AD. At present we are considering possible sites in Upper Weardale, Upper Teesdale, Alston Moor and the Eden Valley. We're also planning other activities, such as a place names project and surveys of early churches which have pre-conquest features, to run alongside the archaeological fieldwork and help us identify potential hotspots of early medieval activity. We are running a short online survey to find out how many people are interested in learning more about this period. There is no commitment to sign up, but we'd like to hear what sort of activities you'd be interested in, whether you are a dedicated digger or an armchair archaeologist. The survey is very short and should only take a minute or so to complete. If you’d like to be kept informed, please leave us your email address at the end.

To reach our survey please click on the link below

Altogether Archaeology Survey

The responses we receive will be enormously useful to us in developing our plans for the project. We hope you can help us.
What happened after the Romans left? Early churches in the North Pennines can help us understand settlement patterns
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The study of place names can assist the archaeologist Early medieval finds in the North Pennines are rare
News Record: 33     Updated: 25-10-2017 10:43:28
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