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Another successful dig at Holwick
Our dig at the Well Head medieval settlement at Holwick, Upper Teesdale is over for this year. Sixteen days of fine spring weather and the sheer hard work of more than 40 volunteer diggers enabled us to achieve all of our key objectives. You can read a day by day account of the dig and see lots of photographs of the archaeology we uncovered in the blog on the Projects page of this website. Although the digging is finished there is still much more to do. Post-excavation cleaning and recording of pottery and other small finds will take place later in the year. As part of this we will be organising a couple of open finds processing workshops so if you are interested in handling the objects and helping us clean and catalogue them please watch out for further details which will be posted on the website soon.

The dig uncovered a number of interesting artefacts, some of which appear in the photographs below. The date of the circular hearth beneath the north-east corner of the longhouse in Trench 3 is not known at the moment but we hope that C14 testing of charcoal samples we took from it will give an answer in due course. The marks or graffiti found on a large stone associated with this building are intriguing. They may be medieval in date but we need to do more research.

We were delighted that more than 30 members of the public came along to have a look at the work in progress during our site tours and guided archaeology walks. Interest in the heritage of the North Pennines is clearly strong and we take great pleasure in sharing our passion for archaeology with visitors.

We will be producing a report on the 2018 Holwick excavations soon and also organising a further public meeting at which we will share our current findings on this fascinating site. We look forward to discussing these with you so please come along. The date will be announced in due course.

Finally our thanks are due to all the fantastic AA members who volunteered to participate in the dig. Not only did everyone work hard but they were great company and we had fun. We are also enormously grateful to Northern Heartlands Community Initiative Fund managed by County Durham Community Foundation for financial support.

Trench 3 3D model: Once clicked it will take some time to load depending on your connection.
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Longhouse in Trench 3. Circular hearth in Trench 3.
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Graffiti on large stone, possibly medieval? We think this is a mortar, perhaps for grinding grains for food.
News Record: 39     Updated: 14-06-2018 09:55:31

Holwick Excavation Update
We can now confirm that the next phase of our excavations at the Well Head deserted Medieval settlement will take place from 12th to 27th May, as previously announced. If you would like to find out more about our plans for this dig you can download the Project Design from the Reports page of this website. This document also contains an interim report on the work we carried out on this site last year. Essential information for everyone who will be digging with us and if you are interested in the archaeology of Upper Teesdale you will also find this a fascinating read.

We are organising several public events associated with this year’s dig which will take place on the following dates.

Site Tours
We shall be hosting two sites tours during the second week of the dig for anyone who would like to come along and have a look at the excavation in progress. These will take place on Wednesday 23 May starting at 11.00 am and Thursday 24th May starting at 2.00 pm.

Guided Archaeology Walks
If you are interested in seeing more of the archaeology of the Holwick area of Teesdale we are also organising two walks on Wednesday 16th May starting at 1.30 pm and Sunday 20th May starting at 1.30 pm. The walks will last for around 2 hours and the route is approximately 4 miles long .

Later in the year we will be organising finds processing & recording workshops plus a further public meeting at which we will present the findings of the dig. Further details of these events will be announced in due course.

Important information - please read
It is not necessary to book for either the site tours or the guided walks.

The meeting point for both the site tours and the guided walks will be at the field-gate entrance to the excavation site which is located approximately 4.5 km west along the Holwick road from its junction with the B6277 - Grid Reference NY908268.

Please wear boots or strong shoes as rough ground with some steep slopes will be encountered on both the site tours and the walks. Suitable clothing for whatever the Teesdale weather decides to do is also essential. There is little shelter or shade available.

If you are travelling by car to the site you should be aware that car parking along the Holwick road is limited and restricted to grass verges. Parking spaces close to the site entrance are likely to be occupied by the vehicles of our diggers whilst the excavation is taking place. Further parking space can be found towards the end of the Holwick road beyond Middle Farm. If you park along the Holwick road please do so with care and avoid blocking field entrances or obstructing farm traffic. Alternatively, if you do not mind the extra walk, you may prefer to park at the Bowlees Visitor Centre car park - Grid Reference NY909282 - and take the public footpath across the Wynch Bridge to the west end of the Holwick road. The distance from Bowlees to the site is approximately 2.7 km.

For further information please contact us at

Our project has been awarded funding from the Northern Heartlands Community Initiative Fund managed by County Durham Community Foundation.

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News Record: 38     Updated: 02-05-2018 13:57:45

Further Excavation at Holwick, Upper Teesdale - May 2018
We are planning a return to the Well Head deserted medieval settlement at Holwick, Upper Teesdale for a further programme of excavation in May 2018. Last year’s dig produced a rich assemblage of small finds indicating that the settlement was active for a considerable period of time during the middle ages. This year’s excavation will focus on obtaining further dating evidence which will help us work out when the settlement began and when it went out of use. The dig is scheduled to run from 12th to 27th May.

We are also delighted to announce that this project has been awarded funding from the Northern Heartlands Community Initiative Fund, managed by County Durham Community Foundation. This will not only help us fund the costs of the excavation itself but also enable us to offer a range of opportunities for local people and visitors to become involved. We are really excited by this aspect of the project, especially as last year’s dig attracted a significant amount of interest.

We are planning a number of public events associated with this year’s dig, which will include the following.

- Prior to the start of the dig we will be holding a public presentation on Monday 16th April at 7.30pm in Middleton-in-Teesdale Village Hall. We will be talking about the results of our work at Holwick in 2017, what we are planning to do during the dig in May, and explaining how people can get involved.
- We will be holding an open day on the excavation site during the second week of the dig when we will offer guided tours and an explanation of the work in progress.
- We will be offering guided archaeology walks for people who are interested in looking at some of the rich archaeological heritage of Upper Teesdale.
- After the dig is finished there will be opportunities for people to become involved in workshops when we will be cleaning and recording finds.
- Later in the year we will organise a final public talk at which we will discuss the results of this year’s excavation.

Further details of each of these activities will be announced on this website as soon as they are available. Please watch this space.
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News Record: 37     Updated: 14-06-2018 09:26:45
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