|Our excavation on parts of the Wellhead deserted medieval settlement at Holwick, Upper Teesdale finished on Sunday 17th September. A total of 49 Altogether Archaeology volunteers took part over the 15 days of the dig. This adds up to around 2000 volunteer-hours of effort which is quite impressive when you view it in those terms.
We opened three trenches in all. The photographs of these below are by Stephen Eastmead and are just part of the invaluable photogrammetry imaging Stephen has done for us. More examples will appear in the final excavation report and on this website in due course.
Trench 1 exposed the whole of one of the buildings at the east end of the site. We now have a much better idea of the size and shape of this building and how it was constructed. We were able to examine various floor surfaces which were partially intact. This trench also enabled us to understand the stratigraphy of this part of the site.
Trench 1A was an exploratory trench which allowed us to look at a longitudinal section through a second building immediately adjacent to, and to the south of, the building uncovered by Trench 1. We were able to compare the two buildings and explore the relationship between them. This second building was larger and appeared to be double-celled. The state of preservation of the floor surfaces was much better than in the Trench 1 building as can be seen from the photograph. Two doorways, one external and the other internal, had interesting stones with carved sockets laid across the thresholds. These appeared to be part of the door hanging structures.
Trench 2 opened up a linear section running east - west through various structures on the hilltop site of the central part of the settlement. This exposed two stone-revetted banks which were part of the retaining structures for a series of platforms on the west slope of the hill. We also uncovered a feature at the west end of the trench close to the stream flowing from the settlement’s main spring. This may have been a small stock enclosure.
The dig produced a large quantity of small finds. The bulk of these were pottery fragments both medieval and post-medieval in date (subject to further examination). There were also fragments of old glass, a few pieces of metalwork (yet to be identified) and three spindle whorls or loom weights.
Although the dig is over there is still much work to be done on cleaning and cataloguing finds and writing the final report which, as always, we will publish on this website as soon as it is ready.
In summary this was an exciting and rewarding project which was much enjoyed by both the volunteers taking part and visitors to the site. Here are just some of the comments we received in feedback.
‘The past two weeks have been fantastic - I really enjoyed my new experience. A lot of that was down to the friendliness and helpfulness of the other volunteers.’
‘I’m amazed at the extent of the dig we managed - my own contribution was tiny but the whole was impressive, and I do hope we can return next year.’
‘Just to say thank you for the opportunity to dig with the team at Holwick. I really enjoyed the experience and hopefully learned from it.’
‘It was very exciting to see a working dig near home.’
There is much more to do on this fascinating site and we hope to return for a second season in the near future.