Spectacular And Rare Discovery At Bradford Kaims Archaeological Wetland Site
Archaeologists working on the Bradford Kaims Wetland Heritage Project in north Northumberland, a community archaeology project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage, have unearthed a series of hugely significant archaeological monuments forming a complex prehistoric landscape.
The latest season of work has revealed the presence of at least 12 ‘burnt mounds’ and four small artificial islands. Finds include prehistoric worked flint and pottery, included Carinated Bowl an extremely early prehistoric pottery. The most spectacular find of the excavation is a timber paddle that could date back some 6,000 years to the very beginning of the Neolithic period, the time of the first farmers.
Paul Gething, Project Director said:
“This find is of national and potentially international significance and is extremely rare as the first such find of this date identified in Europe. The paddle is currently in cold storage pending what we hope will be extensive further stages of research and conservation.”
The Bradford Kaims evaluations also doubles the known examples of burnt mounds in the region. Prehistoric burnt mounds are large piles of burnt stones with a wide variety of possible uses that range from simple cooking through to early brewing, sweat lodges, canoe building or early metal extraction.
The Bradford Kaims T6 site is unique because it pre-dates any previous known burnt mound by over a thousand years. Burnt mounds are well known across the majority of Britain and Ireland but there were less than a dozen known in Northumberland prior to this exciting discovery.
The site has a rich diversity of artefacts and these are greatly enhanced by the presence of very rare organic finds, preserved due to the waterlogged nature of several areas. There is a huge amount of wood preserved just as it was thousands of years after being laid on the ground.
Notes to Editors
The Bradford Kaims Wetland Heritage Project was established in 2010, by the Bamburgh Research Project with funding support from the Your Heritage scheme of the Heritage Lottery Fundand the English Heritage regional Fund, to study an extensive series of former lakes, formed in the post-glacial period, some 10,000 years ago, in northeast Northumberland.
The lakes in-filled over thousands of years and are now, in the main, areas of intermittently wet pasture. Previous seasons of work had identified two burnt mounds and mapped some of the extensive peat deposit within the former lakes.
This year, however, the dry summer has reduced the water table sufficiently to allow a much more detailed investigation of the wetland margins. This has paid dividends revealing an extensive brushwood timber platform, extending from one of the mounds into the water, and it is from the surface of this structure that the paddle was recovered.
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resiliant heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF supported over 35,000 projects with more than £5.5 billion across the UK. http://www.hlf.org.uk
You can find out more about the Bamburgh Research Project by visiting our website www.bamburghresearchproject.co.uk and on Twitter @BRPArcheology