Coring Investigation of the Wishaw Burn Channel

The coring programme undertaken in the summer of 2014, led by Dr Richard Tipping, concentrated on the investigation of the area of the Wishaw Burn to the south-west of Trench 6. The work was aimed at investigating the extent of the timber platform, identified within the trench, and also intended to help us understand the sediment sequence within the narrow channel, that today contains the burn.

The investigation revealed the profile of the burn and showed how the side of the channel, and the water flow rates, have changed over time. Fascinatingly it was also able to identify multiple phases of timber platform, built up over a depth of 1.6m. This exciting result shows us that the platform was not an isolated single event, but a long lived and extensive structure. Plenty for us to get our teeth into in the future!

If you would like to read a summary of the results or download Dr Tipping’s interim report, then click here. The report is linked at the bottom of the page.

Also if you have not alread seen the fantastic short film made by Brian Cosgrove and his team at the Kaims this summer, then do click on the link below. They did a terrific job.

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Bamburgh Research Project Public Site Tours

The Directors of the Bamburgh Research Project would like to invite the public to join us for a private guided site tour departing the Bamburgh Castle Pavilion at 6pm on Thursday the 25th July 2013.

Graeme Young will show interested members of the public around Trenches 1 & 3, and will attempt to answer any questions you have.

The tours will be followed by a lecture on the Castle excavations and those of the Bradford Kaims project.

Field School 2013

Don’t forget there are still spaces available for the field school with us in Bamburgh this summer.

Survey techniques

Survey techniques

We will teach you excavation methods, site recording, artefact processing and much more.

Nat and Liam in the flot tank

Nat and Liam in the flot tank

Camping accommodation is provided along with your tuition, which is great value at £235. We stay in nearby Belford, where there are all the mod-cons (Like a Co-Op, Pubs, Takeaways and stores!) and we have a great social life onsite too.

For more information, go to http://www.bamburghresearchproject.co.uk/
or join us on Facebook or twitter (@brparchaeology)

Trench Tours at Bamburgh Castle

This season we are continuing to provide twice-daily tours of the archaeological trenches. The tours run at 10:45am and 2pm. Please meet at the Bamburgh Research Project information board near the children’s archaeology pit.

 We will take you around the outside of Trench 3 to discuss the major features and artefacts of the trench, as well as some of the archaeological methods we employ on site. A quick walk down to Trench 1 at St. Oswald’s Gate will involve a description of the features as well at the historical relevance of the West Ward.

Please note the tours are free of charge (with admission to the castle), but we do accept donations and sell Graeme Young’s (Director, BRP) book The Archaeology of the Fortress of Bamburgh AD500 to AD1500.

Any changes to the times will be posted as soon as possible. If you and your group cannot make the scheduled tours, please contact us, and we can try to accommodate your visit.Image

Welcome to Bamburgh 2013!

The Bamburgh Research Project season 2013 has officially begun!

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Blue sky over the windmill. Here’s hoping that there is more on the way!

Large scale cleaning has begun in Trench 1, and Graham D and Jess are hard at work getting the Trench opened up and ready to go.

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Finds Supervisor Kirstie watches as cleaning takes place in T1

Our Kaims Krew are getting their gear together- The bell tent needs to go up and the tea paraphernalia need to be ready before work can begin. In the meantime, they are checking over the equipment and ensuring that everything is in working order.

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Graeme Young brings everyone up to date on current archaeological best practice.

We’ll be working hard to keep you up to date with our season, so make sure you follow us on Twitter @brparchaeology, Facebook on our fan page and our new Instagram will show photos fresh from the trenches.

Bradford Kaims Outreach

Bradford Kaims Co-ordinator, Neal Lythe, provides an update on the work being undertaken out at the Kaims.

Neal’s Report

This season the Kaims has so far produced some interesting and exciting archaeology. We have opened numerous test pits, excavated more of Trench 6 and opened a brand new trench on a ridge in the field to the south of Trench 6. This work has been undertaken by students from the Bamburgh Research Project, as it has been for the past 2 seasons, as well as by numerous volunteers from our Bradford Kaims Project, which is a community project for local and regional volunteers.

So far we have had numerous volunteers and we are continuing to get more every week. Many have had little or no experience of archaeology, others have volunteered on other projects and some have come along just to gain more experience to further their career. The volunteers have played an integral part in the excavation and recording of our site this season. For example, Ruth and Bob, half sectioned a pit that surrounds the hearth in Trench 6. This pit was sampled, photographed and drawn and if the weather improves, will be 100% excavated.

Bob section drawing the feature

The volunteers have also worked alongside Bamburgh Research Project students and together they have opened numerous test pits looking for human activity and settlement surrounding the former lake. This involved de-turfing and then painstakingly mattocking and shovelling the various deposits out of a 1×1 metre test pit, whilst looking for archaeological material. The volunteers also played  an important role in helping the BRP staff and students open up our new trench, Trench 42, on a ridge in former lake to the south of Trench 6. More information about this exciting area will follow in future posts.

The opening of Trench 42 with students and volunteers

Everybody has enjoyed themselves during our first 4 weeks and as we continue to get more interest, more archaeology will be uncovered, which will make for a more exciting season.

We were also visited by Wooler First School last week. They came to have a look round the site, have a go at coring and watch Co-director, Kristian Pedersen, undertake some flint knapping. A good time was had by all.

Kristian demonstrating flint knapping

Gerry demonstrating coring to the school children

Coring, Volunteers and Wooler First School

Over the weekend the Bradford Kaims Wetland Heritage Research Project was in full swing coring at the site, plus local volunteers and Wooler First School helped out with some post-ex finds washing.

We also have more volunteering opportunities, so read on to find out.

Graeme’s Report

Last Friday we were back on the Hoppenwood bank site at the Bradford Kaims, having had something of a rain induced break in our programme, to do some more coring with Richard Tipping (To see the previous outing with Richard click here) . This time we were investigating the peat deposits immediately to the west of our ‘hearth’ site. We had been doing a little coring of our own, in Richard’s absence, in this area and had identified a thin marl layer within the peat, in some of the cores that appeared to slope!

The sloping marl layer found in the core

By putting in a new transect of cores with Richard, from the trench edge outwards, we have mapped the subsurface contours of the ground surface as it existed before the lake deposits and peat layers developed. In doing this we profiled the sloping edge of the lake as it shelved down beneath the peat. What came as a surprise was that we soon picked up the rise of the opposite bank, well before we reached the Winlaw Burn, only a few tens of metres away. This shows us that the lake areas to the south drain northwards through a very narrow channel that passes right by the ‘hearth’, before quickly opening out again to the north. It is hard not to see the positioning of our unusual site being in no small part driven by this topographic feature.

The channel as suggested by the coring

This is a very intriguing new discovery, the full implications of which will take time to properly understand.  Looking at the first edition Ordnance Survey map it is clear that the Winlaw Burn has been canalised and back in the mid-19th century meandered a little further to the west. This raises that possibility that there could be more than one channel to the stream, though whether they were ever contemporary we do not yet know.

Later that day we also ran a small workshop in Bamburgh village pavilion, having invited anyone interested in the community to come along and help out. We did some finds washing, starting the process of cleaning the finds recovered during our field walking late last year.

Local volunteers working their way through the field-walking finds

On Tuesday we were at Wooler First School to do a brief introduction to our work and to introduce the children to the joys of washing more of the field walking finds. This proved to be hugely popular, in fact even the quite large quantity of finds that we had brought along only just managed to keep them busy till lunch. The children are coming out to see the site in June. Let’s hope they enjoy that just as much.

Volunteering – Gerry updates us on the field work opportunities for May.

The next fieldworking days will be Thursday 10th May.  Richard Tippingwill also be out again with us on May 17th to 20th along withGSB’s Graeme Atwood who will be doing some geophysics on the Saturday and Sunday. We are also planning to be on site on Wednesday 23rd May.

Please come along if you can, dressed for weather, and wellies are recommended. As usual no experience is necessary, and it should be fun as we will be digging. If you would like to volunteer please send an email to Graeme Young at graemeyoung@bamburghresearchproject.co.uk or call him on 07711187651 as we will be limited to around 20 volunteer places per day.  We very much hope to see you there!

Getting There
The site is located at Hoppen Hall Farm – to get there you will need to take the B1341 between the A1 and Bamburgh.
Heading towards Bamburgh, you pass over the main rail line level crossing just past Lucker, then take the first right hand turn along a rough track heading up hill towards Hoppen Hall farm and cottages. The site is accessible only by prior arrangement, and there are holiday lets near the area we will be parking as well as the main farm house so we ask that all participants show due care and respect the privacy of the residents and guests. We will park and gather together by the main farm buildings, then walk through the fields for around ten minutes to access the wetland site.
Video Editing 
I’m hoping some of you will take an interest in doing some video editing of the footage we’ve been taking of the site. It’s a good way to re-familiarise yourself with the progress so far and help me decide what to put in the video reports. If anyone is interested please email me as I don’t think this is something everybody will want to do, but you’re more than welcome!