Durham County Council's Archaeology Department 3rd Annual Conference
Saturday 10 March 2007, 9:50am-4.30pm
Durham County Council's Archaeology Department will be holding its 3rd Annual Conference. The day will offer talks on recent archaeological discoveries, community excavations, recording and research... continues...
Three amber beads, two bronze rings, a bugle-shaped fitting and a fragment of a spearhead, found six inches below ground in a field near Sedgefield, County Durham, are thought to have been part of an ancient burial ceremony... continues...
Rock Art project officer Tertia Barnett said: "It is
fascinating work and we are uncovering more all the time. Help from volunteers has been invaluable so far and we are looking to recruit more... continues...
Examples of rock art are to be recorded with '3D laser scanning' as part of the Northumberland and Durham rock art project. This is being funded and co-ordinated by the two county councils and English Heritage.
The project's main aim is to develop new and undamaging approaches to recording and conserving rock art... continues...
Experts have uncovered evidence of Iron Age houses and pottery dating from around 100 BC at a major Tyneside development.
Residents at the Newcastle Great Park (NGP) development are learning about their Iron Age counterparts after the latest archaeological work on the site uncovered evidence of an ancient settlement... continues...
Don't know if this will turn out to be another misunderstanding (like this) but some strange carvings have been found near Wooler in Northumberland. Mr Beckinsall's on the case though:
BBC News site at http://news.bbc... continues...
History of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club, volume 9 (1879-81) - has a list of "The named Stones of Northumberland; being a list of huge stones, single and in groups, in situ and detached, to which local names have been given in the County." by G. A. Lebour.
This website is the celebration of rock carvings made by Neolithic and Early Bronze Age people in Northumberland in the north east of England, between 6000 and 3500 years ago. Over 1000 carved panels are known and most of them are still located in the countryside.
The website is also a celebration of the work of Stan Beckensall who has spent 40 years finding and recording this ancient rock art. For many years Beckensall shared his knowledge and recordings of Northumberland rock art through public talks, conference presentations, and richly illustrated publications. Now we have the World Wide Web!
It is our hope that the information and images presented in this website will encourage greater enjoyment of this cultural resource; inspire the creation of new knowledge and insights into Northumberland and British rock art; and set the basis for the effective management and conservation of this ancient resource for future generations.
Listen to Aubrey Manning's 'Unearthing Mysteries' programme on the tri-radial cairns of Northumbria.
About 20 have been found (some are at Lordenshaw. The three arms of the cairns are aligned in the same way; one pointing north and the others at 140 and 240 degrees (SE and SW). That means they could be pointers to the mid-summer and midwinter sunrise and sunset. It's thought that they're Bronze Age.
Searchable lists of prehistoric sites for both Durham and Northumberland. Not a lot of info, but good maps available, and ref numbers for each site, to let people send them requests for more detailed info. Includes a few potential sites that aren't on the SMR or the RSM. Nb: Durham and Northumberland only.
Yeavering, Ad Gefrin, Lordenshaws and the North Cheviots with original photographs and panoramas. Ths site is under development by BoC (Modern Antiquarian member) in collaboration with Paul Frodsham, archaeologist with the Northumberland National Park.
Donkeys do have quite dainty feet, but even so, this first snippet perhaps supports the idea the holes are a bit big for human-created rock art. But that they require supernatural explanation is interesting in itself.
Here in Northumberland [pot holes] are the hoof-marks of a devil as at Birtley, or basins formed by Queen Mab and her train for bathing in, as tradition pleasingly narrates, at Rothley. The soul has almost gone out of such legends now, but time was when they were of earnest import to mankind.
The Rev. G. R. Hall, F.S.A., has told the Birtley legend in a former Volume of these Transactions. A wandering demon, once upon a time, was unwary enough to drink at the Holy Well. But the sacred water disagreed with him like molten lead, and dashing his hoofs upon the stone he leaped a full mile from the spot. He alighted upon the rock beside the Leap Crag Pool in the North Tyne; in which deep black hole "tradition averreth he was drowned." At the Holy Well the tracks are about the size of a small donkey's, if I dare use the comparison, and consist of several pairs as if the miserable being had waxed fidgetty; beside the pool they swell to the size of an elephant's.
But if the marks are natural, the stone doesn't sound near the water? It's all rather unclear. Oh to nip up in the Van to check, it being a fine Sunday in (almost) summer.
The Birtley Halywell, or Holy Well, a chalybeate spring, issuing from the face of the sandstone cliff, amidst the ferns, harebells, heather, and other flowers that adorn its interstices, close to the romantic waterfall of the Holywell Burn, and to the curious so-called Devil's Stone, or Rock, in the near neighbourhood also of two ancient British camps, or oppida, is worthy of special mention among the medicinal wells of North Tynedale.
Though I cannot learn that any particular reverence was formerly shown to this well, which now merely trickles down the ochreous sides of the cliff, at Midsummer, yet I find that people "from far and near" used until recently to visit it on fine Sunday afternoons in summer, and itinerant vendors of refreshments from the village, which is about a mile distant, were wont to be present on the spot. Here, in close proximity, still exists the great upright, weather-worn monolith-- apparently a detached fragment split from the adjacent rock by some natural convulsion --already spoken of as the Devil's Stone. Tradition asserts this to have been, "once upon a time," the scene of a Satanic leap, the very "hoof-marks" being yet visible on its altar-like summit in the shape of what geologists would call "pot holes" -- a leap intended to result in the demon's descent at Lee Hall, on the opposite bank of the river, about half a mile distant; but the interval not having been carefully estimated, the consequence was a fall into the deepest abyss of North Tyne, just below the Countess Park Clints -- thence called the "Leap-Crag Pool," where the Satanic personage is said to have been drowned!
From Archaeologia Aeliana volume 8 (1880), in an article called 'Notes on Modern Survivals of Ancient Well-Worship in North Tynedale.." by the Rev. G. Rome Hall.
A tradition, which I first heard during the progress of our excavations, was known to a former shepherd's wife, an aged dame, who had often spoken to her family of her desire to dig into the great mound in search of "the treasure of silver" said to be secreted in this great fairy knoll, so like the Gaelic "shian" associated with the hero Ossian. Children of the cottage have since told me they had often danced upon it and heard something "rattle and jingle" beneath their feet. Strange it is that the old dame's wish had not long ago been gratified; but, deterred by superstitious feeling, the mystery of the cairn remained unrevealed.
From the 1887 Archaeologia Aeliana article "Recent explorations in ancient British barrows, containing cup-marked stones, near Birtley, North Tynedale", by the Rev. G. Rome Hall.
Another and seemingly older interpretation of the name:
Oaks of a great size, firm and sound, have been taken out of a large moss on Bewick-Moor, called King's Moss, by the road from Chillingham to Alnwick, near a noted aperture in a freestone-rock, called Catherine's cave.
The remains of a round cairn cemetery of Bronze Age date are visible on Carleigh Moor. Seven of the round cairns lie immediately north east of the nearby hillfort (NZ 09 NE 2) on sloping ground. These cairns measure 7 metres to 8 metres in diameter and stand between 0.3 metres and 1 metre high. Two of the cairns have the remains of a retaining circle. Two of the other cairns were excavated during the 19th century; a cist and its cover slab lie at the centre of one of the cairns and the second is visible as a scatter of stones with a second cist at its centre. The cemetery extends onto the lower lying ground east of the hillfort where four round cairns are visible.
Three of these form a compact group known as the 'Warrior Graves'. The three cairns are between 5 metres and 6 metres in diameter and range from 0.4 metres to 1 metre high. The fourth cairn lies 120 metres south east of this group and is 5 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres high. Scheduled.
On the north-east side of the hill, on which the camp is (NZ 09 NE 2) are some grave-mounds. Two of the largest have been excavated. The first was 32 feet in diameter and 5 feet high. A cist was found in the centre lying east-west and measuring 3' 8" by 1' 10" by 2' 3" deep. There was no trace of a burial. This cist can yet been seen with its covering slab lying nearby, on the lower ridge of the hill on the way to the camp, after the last stile on the footpath from Rothbury to Lordenshaws.
The second, 20 yards away, was 26 feet in diameter, 4 feet high, and a cist found in the centre completely filled with sand with no trace of bone, measured 2' 8" by 1' 8" by 1' 6" deep. There was a little charcoal together with two small pieces of pottery. A line of small stones may be traced from these burials leading up to the ridge towards the camp. (1)
(NZ 05749958) Cist (TI) (2)
Excavation report: Source of information in authority (1). (3)
Two small pieces of pottery in a barrow.(Present location not given.
Listed under "Urns known from literature only").
At Lordenshaws a burial mound approx 300 yards NE of the camp has on its margin a carefully packed standing stone 2' 6" high by 2' 0" by 1'6", deeply weathered. (4)
NZ 056993. Six cairns were definitely located on the NE slopes of the hill. Other vague mounds in the region appear to be heather-covered outcrop.
'A' NZ 05749958. The remains of a cairn with an apparent diameter of 7.5m and maximum height of 0.3m. In the centre is the cist mentioned by authorities 1 and 2. It measures 1.3m x 0.65m x 0.5m deep. The N, S and E sides are constructed of a single stone slab but the west end is of small stones packed together. The cover slab of the cist lies to the immediate south.
'B' NZ 05739959. About 15.0m NW of 'A' a scatter of stones on a slight natural rise is probably the remains of the second cairn referred to by authority 1. Insufficient remains for dimensions to be given. On the south side of this scatter is a three-sided cavity in the rocks measuring 0.8m x 0.5m x 0.5m deep. This may be the second cist described by authority 1, the dimensions being approximately the same. The present location of the two pieces of pottery mentioned as being found therein was not ascertained.
'C' NZ 05589942. The cairn refered to by authority 4 is 7.0m in diameter and 0.5m high with a hollow in centre. At least three stones of a retaining circle are still in situ. The standing stone
is in the SW quadrant and appears to be merely an extension of a line of stones, 20.0m to the south, evidently the remains of an old field boundary.
This boundary has similarities of construction with an enclosure approx 900.0m to the NNE which is mentioned in the 13th century.
'D' NZ 05639940. A cairn 8.0m in diameter and 0.5m high with a hollow in centre. At least five stones of a retaining circle are still in situ.
'E' NZ 05689929. An oval cairn measuring 7.0m x 5.0m x 1.0m high and oriented E-W. It appears to be intact.
'F' NZ 05889935. Cairn 5.0m diameter and 0.4m high. None of the cairns have any traces of a ditch and only 'C' and 'D' the remains of a retaining circle.
NZ 05739955 to NZ 05609939. The line of stones referred to by authority 1 can be traced for 200.0m. The stones are small (max ht above ground level 0.4m) and irregularly spaced and appear to demarcate the east side of an old trackway which appears in places as a slight hollow way. No evidence for dating. (5)
Cairns 'C' and 'D' by virtue of their proportions (see photographs), and the evidence of eristaliths must be classed with 'A' and 'B' as sepulchral, although all four fall in an area that shows signs of having been cleared for cultivation (see NZ 09 NE 9).
Similarly 'E' is a substantial and isolated cairn in a modern enclosure. 'F' is smaller than the other five, and its position on the fringe of stone clearance is suspect, but again it is a single
cairn in an area otherwise devoid of stone heaps. Surveyed at 1/2500. (For 1/2500 illust see NZ 09 NE 2). (6)
NZ 058 992 etc. Cup and ring marked rocks, stone rows, tumuli, cairns and Garleigh Hill stone circles and Lordenshaws camp, Hesleyhurst. Scheduled No ND/86. (7)
Authority 5's cairn C lies within the area surveyed by RCHME in December 1990 and is briefly described in the published account, where it is noted that it is in a conspicuous position when seen
from the lower ground to the east. (8)
Bronze Age cup marked standing stone (in situ). One face of the stone is marked with seven clear cup marks and three small pecked marks. The stone is visible on air photographs.
(NZ 04347465) The Warrior Stone (TI). Standing Stone (LB). (1)
In a field south of Sandywayhead farmhouse, Ingoe, is a standing stone about 6 ft high, known locally as 'The Warrior Stone'. Marked as "Stone" on OS 6" (sited NZ 0434 7465). (2)
A much weathered standing stone 2.0m high and 0.5m square at the base, with four distinct cup marks on its east face. See photograph. (3)
NZ 043 746. Sandyway Heads standing stone. Scheduled No ND/133. (4)
The Warrior Stone H00756 NZ 044 747
Close to Sandyway Heads in a field sloping to the south, this standing stone has seven clear cup marks on one face and three small pecked cups. (5)
A Bronze Age standing stone is visible as a structure on air photographs at NZ 0434 7465. (6)