|Our first walk of the year was blessed with unbroken spring sunshine. This was fortunate as we were out in the uplands of Weardale, County Durham, to explore the archaeology of Bollihope Common with Dr Rob Young. Rob surveyed and excavated in this landscape for over 10 years with students from Newcastle University and community volunteers.
What this extensive study revealed was an upland area busy with human activity from the mesolithic through the Roman period and into the middle ages and beyond. We visited dwellings, medieval shielings, stock enclosures and a complex of early industrial sites for the smelting of both lead and iron. It was fascinating to discuss the physical evidence that this quiet, sheep-grazed moor had for centuries been the scene of intense exploitation.
Few upland landscapes in northern England can match the the archaeological richness and diversity of Bollihope Common. This and a first-rate guide made for a highly memorable day. Great start to our archaeological walks for 2017.