News Archive
Altogether Archaeology News

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

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!

Click Images to Enlarge
News Record: 51     Updated: 11-05-2019 13:29:11

First Holwick radio-carbon dates now in
We have received the first set of radio-carbon dates from samples collected during our 2018 excavations at the Well Head settlement in Holwick, Upper Teesdale. Martin Green, AA's Fieldwork Co-ordinator, revealed the results at our AGM in Mickleton on Saturday 16th March.

Dates have been obtained from charcoal found in each of the 3 trenches we opened last year and the results are as follows. Please see the accompanying photographs for the sample locations.

Trench 3 (Sample 303)
The charcoal sample came from the stone hearth located under the NW wall-line of the longhouse (F9) excavated in this trench. This gave a date of 1540 AD +/- 90 years. This suggests that the hearth was a relatively late feature in the sequence of this building's use.

Trench 4 (Sample 403)
This trench, located about 150m west of the centre of the settlement on the flat top of a drumlin, contained an enigmatic curving length of bank (F4). We identified this tentatively as a Bronze Age funerary monument (despite the lack of evidence for burials), possibly a ring-cairn. Charcoal was found under a slab on the inner side of the fragmentary ring. This has yielded a date of 1830 BC +/- 80 years and confirms that this is indeed a Bronze Age feature.

Trench 5 (Sample 501)
In this trench we excavated what initially looked like a two-celled building set in a scooped platform (F12). The crude foundation stones suggested a potentially early date. However, excavation revealed that the two cells differed in size and may have been built at different times. A construction sequence could not be established. Charcoal was obtained from a surface around a burnt area in the NE corner of a large rectangular structure. This yielded a date of 1580 AD +/- 80 years and again suggests that the activity causing the burning occurred fairly late in the history of this structure's occupation.

All radio-carbon dates above calibrated, 95% probability.

We hope to be able to analyse more samples from Holwick in due course which will give us further dating evidence. Nevertheless, these first results provide an important piece of the jigsaw puzzle.

For more information about this project please refer to our Interim Report on the 2018 Excavation which can be downloaded from the Reports page of this website.
General view of excavation site Trench 3
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Trench 4 Trench 5
News Record: 50     Updated: 18-03-2019 15:00:03

Holwick Stories 2019
Altogether Archaeology is combining its excavation work with a really exciting new Arts project in May this year, thanks to funding from the Northern Heartlands Community Initiative Fund, managed by County Durham Community Foundation. The grant will enable us to extend our investigations into the deserted medieval settlement at Well Head, Holwick and to complement the dig findings with film making, oral history, art work and creative writing.

During the past two seasons at Holwick, we have been amazed by the response of the local community and by the wealth of personal stories, memories and family legends we uncovered alongside the remains of the medieval village. Our aim is to tap into and record all of that to create a Holwick archive and to encourage people to develop their own creative work inspired by the site.

Primary school children will be involved in finds processing and writing their own stories associated with the treasures they uncover. We want to encourage people to come to the open days and share their experiences and reminiscences, and for adults to engage with sketching and painting at the site. We will be working with Lonely Tower filmmakers who are going to document the excavation and the creative work to produce two short films. Writer, audio producer and oral historian Rachel Cochrane will be talking to visitors and the archaeologists to record their thoughts about the site.

The 2019 excavation will take place from 11-26 May; as in previous years the volunteers will be supervised by a professional archaeologist to ensure that the highest standards are met. You do need to be a member of Altogether Archaeology to participate in the dig, for insurance reasons. However, we welcome members of the public to open days at the site and look forward to meeting you and hearing your stories. Dates of the open days will be published soon on this website. If you would like to read our interim report on the 2018 excavation you will find this on the Reports page and can download a copy from there.
Holwick 2018 Excavation Holwick 2018 Excavation
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News Record: 49     Updated: 18-03-2019 10:54:14

Altogether Archaeology Research Strategy Documents: Resource Assessment Published
Altogether Archaeology has published a third research strategy document: the Resource Assessment which is actually the first in the three part series.

This document is a comprehensive statement on the archaeology of the North Pennines.

It is written by Paul Frodsham and some 150 pages long. The pdf document downloads are available by clicking the Reports link in the above Menu Bar.

There is a summary of this document available to read here
Part 1 pdf Part 2 pdf
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Part 3 pdf
News Record: 48     Updated: 18-03-2019 10:56:15

Coming Up in 2019
As the New Year gets underway we are putting the final touches to our programme for 2019. Events for the first half of the year have now been published on the Activities page of the website and details of the rest of the programme will appear very soon, so please keep an eye on our website and stay up to date with what’s on.

As usual we have a varied programme lined up so there should be things in it to suit most interests. We kick off with an indoor meeting on Saturday 19th January at Mickleton Village Hall in Teesdale. Ben Westwood, Finds Liaison Officer for Durham, Darlington and Teeside will be talking about his work and some of the interesting portable finds that have turned up in the region over the past year. This will be followed by a review of our work on the Well Head deserted medieval settlement at Holwick. Martin Green will be talking about the 2018 excavation and Tony Metcalfe will be describing some of the finds from this fascinating site. This is an excellent opportunity to catch up with our discoveries at Holwick, especially if you missed the public presentation at Middleton back in October of last year.

An important diary date is our AGM in March which will take place on Saturday 16th at Mickleton. We are fortunate in having two excellent guest speakers at the AGM. Professor Diana Whaley will be discussing her work on place names in the North of England and how place name studies can assist the archaeologist and historian. This will be followed by a presentation from Dr Rob Young who will be interpreting the findings from AA’s rescue excavation of a mesolithic hunting camp at Cow Green, Upper Teesdale.

If you are yearning to get out and about in our fabulous North Pennines landscapes again, April is a bumper month with not one but three different guided archaeology walks. On 10th April Stephen Eastmead will take us around some industrial sites in Arkengarthdale. On the 13th Harriet Sams will help us to explore some fresh archaeological sites around Cotherstone and on the 27th we will be spending a whole day with Paul Frodsham looking at one of his favourite Neolithic sites, Long Meg and her Daughters in Cumbria.

Other events in the first half of 2019 include a Finds Drawing Workshop with Sheila and Andrew Newton at Edmundbyers in March, a guided archaeological walk in Lunesdale, Cumbria with Patrick Neave in June and last, but by no means least, our third and final season of excavation at Holwick, Teesdale (11th to 26th May).

In addition to more walks, talks and workshops in the second half of the year we are also planning a number of new fieldwork and research projects, details of which will be notified to members shortly.

Please note that most of the events in our programme are open to non-members for a small charge but please check the Activities page of the website for details and booking arrangements.

In the meantime, below are a selection of photographs of highlights from our 2018 programme just to whet your appetite. We look forward to welcoming you to our events in 2019.

Flint-knapping at Harehope Holwick 2018
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Cotherstone archaeology walk Finds washing at Mickleton
News Record: 47     Updated: 21-01-2019 13:19:39
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