Altogether Archaeology News Archive

Return to Cow Green.
In August 2015, during the closing days of the North Pennines AONB Partnership Altogether Archaeology project, we excavated an interesting site on the banks of Cow Green Reservoir in Upper Teesdale. Earlier that year quantities of chert and flint had been found tumbling from beneath the peat layer in an area where the bank of the reservoir was eroding away. In response to this AA organised a rescue dig of the site in order to investigate what this lithic scatter might represent before more of the archaeology was lost. What we discovered was the site of a temporary camp occupied intermittently over a long period of time by hunter-gatherer people during the Middle Stone Age, or Mesolithic, period. The camp is located on an old spring line on a low terrace above the River Tees near what may have been an established route-way between the lowlands of Teesdale and North Yorkshire through the North Pennines into Cumbria. This is probably the earliest site excavated so far in the North Pennines and may date from around 6,000 BC, or even earlier. We are awaiting radiocarbon dating of samples taken during the 2015 dig to confirm this.

Although we recovered almost 2,000 pieces of worked chert and flint during the 2015 dig, we did not quite finish the job. Volunteers who took part will remember that the weather was at times challenging, even though it was allegedly summer, and there was a small area of the site that we were unable to completely excavate in the time available. Therefore, we are planning to return to Cow Green next month (August 2018) to complete the job.

The dig will take place over 4 days on Monday 6th, Tuesday 7th, Thursday 9th and Friday 10th August. We plan to open only one trench (approximately 6X4m) so this will be a small scale operation and, because of that, we need to restrict the number of volunteers on site to 10 people per day. If you would like to take part in this dig please register your availability and interest as soon as possible by emailing us at

At Altogether Archaeology we always finish what we start. This time we are hoping for better weather (famous last words).
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News Record: 40     Updated: 20-01-2019 23:18:10

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