News Archive
Altogether Archaeology News

The most recent 5 news items are below. Older items can be read in the News Archive

Northumberland Name Books website goes live
The Ordnance Survey Name Books for Northumberland (c. 1860) record some fifteen thousand place-names from Abberwick to Youly Sike, with brief descriptions of the places, giving a fascinating overview of the historic county at a time of great change. Images and transcriptions of the documents can now be viewed, browsed and searched at Northumberland Name Books.

Members of Altogether Archaeology (AA) will be familiar with the OS Name Books, since AA generously undertook work on them as one of their projects in 2019 (see the article on this website). Twelve AA members volunteered to transcribe the 471 pages for Allendale in OS 34/331 and 332 in The National Archives, Kew, and Andy Curtis and Rob Pearson gave wonderful support with recruiting, organising, mentoring and checking. Through the transcribers' excellent work they transformed pages like this: Image 1, page 100 of OS 34/331, the first Name Book for Allendale parish], to transcriptions that are displayed on the website like this: Image 2.

This randomly chosen example gives a glimpse of the tantalising questions that just one page can throw up. Surveyor Thomas Grehan's description of Bunkers Hill as an 'ordinary farm house' which 'does not stand on a hill or eminence which might give rise to the name' would encourage the thought that this place-name is not descriptive but commemorative, occasioned by the Battle of Bunker Hill in Massachusetts, fought in 1775 early in the American Revolutionary War. There are many more Bunker/Bunker's Hills in England, and many more commemorations of colonial battles. How we explain Riding Hill on the same page, also not a hill, is not so clear!

The transcriptions are fully browsable and searchable by going via the above link and clicking the Browse tab to the Allendale Indexes where you can see the range of place-names and 'objects' in this huge parish and identify topics or key words such as chapels, cloughs or quarries. Or by Searching and looking at individual pages you can find out, for instance, what the 'eal' in Bridge Eal is, who the Abraham of Abraham's Plain was, or how Ninebanks School was funded. A very useful way into the Allendale Name Books is Andy Curtis's Allendale Parish Interactive Map

Many thanks to the AA team for helping to make this treasure trove accessible to all.

Diana Whaley
Image 1: Page 100 of the original c.1860 Name Books for Northumberland. Image 2. Page 100 as it appears in the database having been transcribed by the volunteers including some AA members.
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Image 3. Volunteers that took part in digitising the Northumberland Name Books
News Record: 55     Updated: 12-09-2021 14:55:49

New Audio-Visual page
A new Audio-Visual web page is now available use this link here... or towards the bottom of the menu listing.

All AA videos and podcasts can be found there.
Video1: Martin Green describing organising the 2019 excavation at Holwick. Holwick in the medieval period?
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Video 2 Holwick - A Sense of place - all about Holwick in Teesdale Rachel Cochrane who recorded all of the podcasts - seen here at Cotherstone School.
News Record: 54     Updated: 02-12-2019 20:48:15

Holwick Stories - An Update
We thought it was about time to take our archaeological exploration in new directions, so, in May, Altogether Archaeology was delighted to work with audio producer, Rachel Cochrane and Lonely Tower Film and Media to document the stories behind our Holwick excavation. Budding archaeologists from Cotherstone Primary School joined us on site to discover their heritage and kept us on our toes with their energy, enthusiasm and curiosity, which continued undimmed when we visited the school to deliver a finds processing and creative writing workshop. If you want to find out what we’ve been up to, go to the Altogether Archaeology homepage where you can gain a unique insight into the dig and the finds processing workshop via snippets of the Lonely Tower film. You can listen to a fascinating series of podcast interviews produced by Rachel, including some fantastic stories from our visitors by following this link. All of this was made possible through generous funding support from Northern Heartlands
Cleaning finds needs concentration! (photo Marie Gardiner) Finds processing class (photo Marie Gardiner)
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Rachel Cochrane interviewing on site (photo Mike Powell) Lonely Tower filming at Holwick (photo Mike Powell)
News Record: 53     Updated: 21-07-2019 13:00:42

Early Churches of the Tyne Valley
The Tyne valley is well-provided with churches that have significant Anglo-Saxon features either incorporated in the architectural fabric or as sculptural objects, or indeed both. Many AA members have a strong interest in the material culture of the early medieval period and so on 17th July an intrepid party boarded a coach at Prudhoe Railway Station and set off on a day-long voyage of exploration. We were ably guided by member Alan Newham whose passion for early churches is well-known in the group. Starting at Heddon-on-the-Wall the tour also took in Ovingham with it's magnificent tower, the twin churches of Bywell, Corbridge, the crypt of St Wilfred's church beneath Hexham Abbey and ended at Warden with it's amazing Anglo-Saxon tower and standing-cross.

Alan's knowledge of Anglo-Saxon churches is encyclopaedic and we went home with our heads spinning with quoins (long and short, face alternate, side alternate, dovetail and clasping!), arches, lancet windows, tympani and many other architectural features too numerous to mention. Thanks Alan for an entertaining and informative day which was enjoyed by all.

If you missed out on Alan's trip, which was oversubscribed, we are hoping to persuade him to do a repeat run in the near future. Also don't miss Alan's follow-up talk on Anglo-Saxon Church Architecture which will delivered at our meeting on Saturday October 12th.
Hendon-On-The-Wall, chancel and sanctuary Ovingham
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Bywell, St Andrews Alan introducing us to the finer points of quoins at Heddon
News Record: 52     Updated: 14-02-2023 07:49:19

Holwick Stories and Excavation
Our third season of excavation at the Well Head deserted medieval settlement in Holwick, Upper Teesdale begins on Saturday 11th May and runs until Sunday 26th. Thanks to funding from Northern Heartlands there will be a lot going on alongside the excavation this year. Film makers and an oral historian will spend some days on site talking to visitors, volunteers and the archaeologists.

One of our aims is to create a Holwick archive to complement the archaeological investigation and we would really love to hear the stories, memories and thoughts of local people and visitors. So, if you have any anecdotes or ideas about the site please do come along to our open day on Thursday 16th May and share them with us and with our documentary makers. The site is open to visitors at 11 a.m. and there will be a guided walk taking in the archaeology of the wider area at 1 p.m. There are two further opportunities to visit the excavation and join the guided walk on Sunday 19th May (open site 11 a.m., walk at 1 p.m.) and Thursday 23rd May (walk at 10 a.m., open site 2 p.m.). Bookings are not required for any of these events.

We very much look forward to meeting you, showing you around this fascinating site and hearing your stories. You can find further information about Altogether Archaeology, including how to become a member and participate in our activities by going to the Membership section of this website and you can also download and read an interim report on the 2018 excavation from our Reports page.

You can access a Google map showing the location of our Holwick excavation site by following a link at the bottom of the Activities page of this website.

Please come and visit us and be part of our Holwick story!

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News Record: 51     Updated: 11-05-2019 13:29:11
News Archive Previous news items can be read in the News Archive. Newsletter