A win for our friends at Hirst Park Middle School

Brian Cosgrove and his student media crew have just won the SENRUG video competition, beating  the Northumberland Church of England Academy, King Edward VI School Morpeth, Cramlington Learning Village and their old friends at Collingwood Arts and Media College, Morpeth.

You can see their video here

Brian and his team have worked with us on a number of occasions, their recent film on Bradford Kaims is linked in the post bellow, so we at the BRP are delighted with their success.

A new Bradford Kaims video made by Hirst Park School

Our friends at Hirst Park School have just put the finishing touches on an amazing video they’ve been making about the Bradford Kaims site. The organizer for this media project, Brian Cosgrove, has the following to report. You can watch the video below. We hope you enjoy! We had a blast filming with them!

“Week one of the summer break saw a unique twist on our media and video production work at Hirst Park. Almost seven years ago a student crew from our school filmed a series of investigative interviews at Bamburgh Castle.
We have reunited members of that very first crew, along with media students involved with our IHC engineering project the same year, on a new video project.

The original crew are now in their final years at high school and they jumped at the chance to work on a video project again. As in the original videos we are working with our friends at the Bamburgh Research Project but this time the film is about the recent discoveries at the Bradford Kaims wetland site a few miles from Bamburgh.

Filming took place over two days at the start of the summer break and was organised and supported by Mr Cosgrove, media developer with the Ashington Learning Partnership, along with Mrs Piddock and Mrs Larkin from Ashington High school.

Following our two days filming at the Kaims, the Director of Archaeology at the project, Paul Gething wrote:

“Thanks to your team for the hard work. They are inspirational.  They have a slick, professional attitude and easy efficiency that puts most of the other media we’ve had on site, to shame. I’ve worked with media for 15 years with teams from all over the world and not seen better.  My team were all very impressed”.

To watch on YouTube click here.

To see the Brian’s original report and photos from their visit click here.

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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!


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.


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.


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.

TAG 2012: BRP Media

Just before Christmas, Liverpool University hosted the annual TAG conference, one of the premium venues for theoretical archaeology and new innovative methodologies. This year one of the sessions focused on ‘Archaeology and the Media’. As many of you will know the BRP has been using video recording for many years, spearheaded by Gerry Twomey. It seemed only right that the BRP should be represented.

Gerry starting his first paper in the Archaeology and the Media session at TAG 2012

Gerry starting his first paper in the Archaeology and the Media session at TAG 2012

Gerry gave two papers, the first of which explored the methodology implemented at Bamburgh, plus the problems encountered and solved along the way. The second part looked at clips from the BRP feature-long documentary exploring the early years of the BRP and the impact Dr Brian Hope-Taylor has had on the project. Both papers were presented to others working on similar projects or those hoping to develop a media aspect alongside archaeological investigations. The session was also streamed live to over 600 people.

Volunteers Editing Video of the Kaims

This article was kindly written by volunteer Ruth Brewis, who took part in the video editing of footage from the Bradford Kaims Wetland Heritage Research Project. The Project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage.

We’d be delighted if more volunteers expressed an interest in doing some video editing – if you want to have a go at this please get in touch with me, gerry.twomey@bamburghresearchproject.co.uk

It will be possible to arrange one to one sessions or small groups if anyone wants to participate in this, and you do not have to have been a volunteer previously – this is open to all, and it may be possible to do this in your local area – I am prepared to travel with the footage and equipment!

Ruth writes:

Stress, Stress, Stress……

Video Editing…terrifying! Thought I was going to lose all the footage and there was so much of it! A somewhat daunting task and not an aspect I was expecting to be involved in when I signed up as a volunteer for the Bradford Kaims Heritage Wetlands Project, but the opportunity presented itself.

The BRP Editing Laptop!

Editing a small video can take days of patiently sifting through footage, re-watching the same clips over again and re-editing, playing it through many times, searching for a beginning and an ending, deciding if a picture should be static or not, which looks better??

Not as straight forward as I thought it would be!

Under Gerry’s guidance I was able to select snippets of video and assemble them to form a workable version with a storyline that would make sense to anyone viewing the video, at the same time trying to produce something that would be interesting, showing the process of coring done at the Kaims by Richard Tipping, BRP Staff and the volunteers. Looking back at the footage it was hard to decide how much to include in the video, for me it is all interesting and something that was completely new to me, so I wanted to include everything.

I came to the project expecting to learn about archaeology and was happy with that but I got the chance to try video editing, and really enjoyed the experience and I thought it would be good to see how Gerry puts together video’s for Bamburgh Research Project and as I like taking photographs when I’m on site, it was an extension of my interest in photography.

This is Ruth’s completed video which was first uploaded during the summer.

Work at the Bamburgh Research Project

Work at Bamburgh Research project is varied, and there is something here to appeal to everyone. With demonstrations of the day to day activities in Finds, Media and Trenches 1 and 3, there is always something exciting to do! (Including hide in the windmill blogging on rainy days) Watch Megan work the flot tank, see Kirstie identify and catalogue finds, Steph digs up the dirt on trenchwork and Tee talks Media.

This Week in Photos

Spending more and more time holed up in the windmill, databasing and doing other environmental odd’s and ends, I’ve come to appreciate the re-introduction to the trenches and interesting finds that Friday Trench Tours provide. In order to stay apprised of the going-on’s (and to appease my archaeological cravings), I’ve taken to accosting my fellow supervisors for updates and explanations of new features, intriguing finds, and general archaeological musings, on a semi-regular basis. Since most of you readers don’t have that option, I thought you might appreciate a taste of what Friday (and the preceeding week) offers our volunteers and staff. On that note, I present our first ever “This Week in Photos”:

ENVIRONMENTAL (an oft-neglected aspect of BRP archaeology, and never a part of trench tours)


Some of the specimens in the Trench 7 flotation residue.

This is very exciting for me, since I’ve been working towards this goal since last season. Thanks to all those people who helped me with the endless flotting, sorting, and discarding of the BC08 Chapel Samples.

Lally and Jani sorting the last Trench 7 sample.

We’ve also been working our way through BC12 and BC11 samples in order to free up sample buckets for use in the trenches. The greedy people keep wanting to do important environmental archaeology, filling up my freshly washed sample buckets faster than I can flot them.Alex, Jess, and Trench 1 kindly filled a wheel barrel FULL of sample bags for me this week.

Lauren and Anne flotting a very clay-ey sample.

The flot tank at work.

Flotting of BC12 T3 (400) and (401) and BC12 T1 (206) and (207) all revealed somewhat unusual samples… stones, bone, and shell galore. Looks like cobbled paths and post-hole fill are the trending contexts this week. It will be interesting to see what the sorts reveal.

Flot and environmental samples drying in the sun.


Greetings from Steph and Maria, the Trench 3 Assistant Supervisors! Despite the loss of our supervisor and beloved leader this week (Jo, we miss you!), we have tried to plough ahead as usual, and have certainly been rewarded with some interesting developments.

Media (“T”) filming progress in T3.

In the South of the trench, we’ve exposed more of our strange ‘doughnut’ stone and the packing stones around it, as well as excavating and sampling a pit nearby.

1387: “Doughnut stone”

The ‘doughnut’ stone may be a drain associated with the nearby metalworking structure. The relationship of the nearby pit and surrounding shell deposit with the structure is as yet unknown, but they may also be related. Shell is indeed a raw material used in some metalworking processes (e.g. cupullation)

Jessica G. and Victoria planning the SE corner of T3.

Danielle and Harry planning the SW quadrant of the SE corner of T3.

After cleaning, photographing and planning the southern half of the trench, we turned our attention to the north which has received less attention so far this season.

What we have affectionately termed the T3 “Sexy Section”.

Originally believed to be earlier in date, lines in section are now suggesting that this higher end may actually still be later than the south, so we started off with a big clean to expose the contexts hidden by the recent heavy rain!

Cleaning in the NW Corner of T3.

Kelly excavating in the NW corner of T3. The appearance of unusual clay and shell deposits suggest a possible floor.

Considering the few contexts visible in the Northern part of Trench 3 at the end of last season, this week has proved surprisingly fruitful! An interesting burning(?) feature apparently associated with a strange triangular spread of rocks and pebbles has already appeared…

Left-centre – Linear scatter of large pebbles; Bottom right corner – Strange triangular spread of rocks and pebbles.

.as has what appears to be a linear of bluish grey soil containing a pebble scatter.

Contexts were proving particularly hard to distinguish in the NW corner, so we have started digging by quadrant in this area.

Tyler excavating the east quadrant of the NW corner.

This involves splitting the area into four quadrants and digging two of the four down. This will expose 4 sections which will hopefully provide greater clarity and aid us in our interpretation as we excavate this complex area down. 


T1 students trying to look busy.

Over in Trench 1, the main effort has been on finding the return of the timber building and the robbed out stone building. After pulling back the tarp in the old trench to reveal where the walls were heading, we popped two sondages into the area of the trench we have been working in. One sondage was placed in the SE corner, revealing a cut cut by another cut.

Sondage in SE corner of T1, and patches of boulder clay coming through.

The other sondage was placed in a possible pit in the NE area.

Sondage in NE corner of T1.

Judging by what we could see in the old part of the trench, the timber and the stone building both cut the pit. We are still in the process of excavating the pit, so we don’t yet know whether our theory holds. We’ll let you know the results soon!

T1 Supervisor Alex tidying the NE corner for a photograph.

Stay classy bloggers 😉  — Jessica


Finds Assistant Supervisor Jeff and Supervisor Kirstie caught on camera in the AsSup’s office.

Finds update to follow later this week…

Finds Update Video

Kirstie Watson, Bamburgh Research Project Finds Supervisor, talks about some of the interesting artefacts that have been recovered from the trenches this season and in previous years. This video has been edited by BRP participant Emily Andrews with some guidance from departed media supervisor Joe Tong.

Staff Profile

Media Supervisor, Joe Tong, has kindly answered some questions about his role at the BRP.

Name: Joseph William Tong
Position: Media Supervisor

Joe Tong at play

Responsibilities at the project?

My main responsibility is video recording the archaeology uncovered by the BRP. This involves:

  • Recording the progression of the excavations, recording as layers are removed, finds are revealed, as a feature is dug and as cleaning reveals contexts.
  • Encouraging diggers, visitors and staff to offer opinions, interpretations and ideas to bridge the interpretive gap between archaeologists and the written record.
  • Recording the archaeologists who form the written record.

As well as the recording of archaeology to form an archival record of the project, I am also responsible for creating short videos for public dissemination which act as an informal output for the project.

How did you get involved with the project?

I got involved with the project in 2011, through Joanne Kirton who is an archaeological supervisor for the project. I know Joanne through my time at the University of Chester where she is a post-graduate student and lecturer and she encouraged me to come along. Although I consider myself an archaeologist I came as a media student in 2011, this experience fostered a desire to make archaeology accessible to everyone through media.

What do you do out of the season?

I have just completed my undergraduate degree in Archaeology from the University so my life is somewhat up in the air! All I can currently be certain of is the next three months! I am working for the project until the end of June when the reigns of media supervisor are passed over to the capable hands of Matthias Jensen. I will be working (and sunning myself) in Bulgaria for the following six weeks then returning to North Wales to work as media supervisor on another project called Project Eliseg.

Other than this I hope to work and save for a year in order to start an MA in 2013.

Hopes for the rest of the season? 

I hope to continue humiliating Tom Lally at pool and I hope to win again at the quiz without the fear of having to write the following quiz! In terms of project aims, I hope the rain stops long enough so that I can complete a number of videos designed to assist incoming students to the project.

Anything you would like to add?

Tom Lally sucks at pool. Joanne Kirton is better than me in every way.