Burnt Offerings: A further article on Bradford Kaims

Tom Gardner, one of our Project Supervisors at the Bradford Kaims site, has written a short article for Past Horizons. You can read the article at the link below:

http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/05/2014/burnt-offerings-the-bradford-kaims-project

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Kaims Video update – Burnt mounds?

This is the latest video in our Bradford Kaims Wetland community heritage dig series. Last time we gave you coring, this time it’s all about the features. What exactly are we digging up? The sites themselves are remarkably well preserved and subtly different, and our excavations are revealing that the promontory identified by Richard Tipping’s coring was extensively used, with multiple sites of burned stones, intermittent pits and exciting results from the geophysics.

Video Update – Peat Cores

Bradford Kaims Update – Coring with Richard Tipping from the University of Stirling

This video was created by volunteer, Ruth, who has been participating in the excavations and coring all year. Her film shows the processes of coring and how this work fits into the overall understanding of the ancient landscape changes. We’re very grateful to Ruth for sifting through the hours of footage to make this summary!

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

Bradford Kaims: Week 1 and 2

Assistant supervisor, Jackie Scott, gives us an overview of the work on-going out at the Bradford Kaims, wetland site.

The first two weeks at the Kaims have been fairly slow going. The repeated assaults of the weather have regularly flooded the low lying parts of the T6 open area excavation and turned the rest to mud making excavation impossible at times. We have managed 5 days on site thus far and have started making the extensions to T6 that will allow us to excavate the ancient water channel between two of the former lakes.

Prepping Trench 6 for the first clean back

To date, much of our time at the Kaims has been occupied with test pitting on slightly higher, drier ground. This has been a new experience for most of the students and I am sure they have found it quite a change from the rather less heavy labour the castle excavations usually offer.

Beth’s beautiful test pit

Cattitude got a bit of trench fever!

As an extra treat most of the students have had the opportunity to try some coring in the fields around the site with volunteer Matthew Ross, who has been undertaking a number of new transects across the site.

Neal, Graham and myself have been extremely pleased with the progress that all the students who have ventured to the Kaims are making both in terms of their excavation technique and recording. We are also pleased by the fact that many have been extremely keen to spend extra time on the project. This is extremely gratifying.

Thanks for the photos Beth and Cat.

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!

Winter Lecture Part 2: The Bradford Kaims

Kristian Pedersen of Edinburgh University has been working alongside the Bamburgh Research Project on the Bradford Kaims Wetland Heritage Research Project.

In this video he provides local residents with an overview of the site and the work carried out during the 2010 and 2011 dig season.

For further information and updates about the project, click on bradford kaims in the Tag Cloud to the right of the screen.

Field Work Update for the Bradford Kaims

Project Director, Graeme Young, gives us an update on the recent work undertaken at our Mesolithic/Neolithic site out at Hoppen Hall, near the Bradford Kaims.

In our last few visits to the site at Hoppen Hall near the Bradford Kaims, we have continued the work that has been ongoing for the last couple of years around the ‘hearth’ feature. We are hoping to increase our understanding of this enigmatic feature dated to 4000 to 4500 BC by archaeomagnetic dating. Just what it represents, and how it fits into the wider landscape still alludes us. I hope that through widening the area of excavation and sheer persistence  that this will work wonders. Click here to read an overview of past work at the site

The Aerial photography undertaken by  Horizon has been particularly useful. We always thought that this birds eye perspective would provide us with some great shots for publication, but it is surprising how much this change of perspective helps in seeing the bigger picture and how the individual components fit into a wider story. We know that the site lay close to the edge of a narrow channel, but it is apparent now that even to the south where the channel opens out we have a complicated picture including two separate bays. It must surely in the distant past, when there was still substantial open water, have been a prime area for attracting animals and perhaps for fishing too. Easier to see, therefore, why we have such clear indication of human activity. Albeit activity we are struggling to understand. Click here to see the results of Horizon AP’s most recent work for the project.

Initially we have been cleaning and planning, with the intention of better understanding the stratigraphy (the sequence of layers and features that tell the story of the order of events) so that we can hopefully understand the role that the site played when it was in use. Why for instance is there so much charcoal and burnt material here? Is this material waste material from a process that involved fires set on our burnt stone surface that they overlie. Or is there a substantial distance in time between them, if not a distance in space? We have also uncovered the presence of at least one substantial pit and are perhaps seeing traces of others too. If this is the case we can also ask if we are looking at a structure or further waste disposal.

The extension of the site to the south, cleaned up to show the extent of the burnt material in this direction.

Cleaning back towards the stone feature (seen behind the trowellers) has revealed at least one substantial pit. Planning of the trench extension is under way in the background.

Over the next few weeks we will be pursuing these inquiries and also opening a new trench down into the peat layers, that lie only metres to the west of the burnt stone surface. Hopefully finding evidence of material disposed of in the lake will add to our understanding of the site’s use.

Watch this space for updates.

If you are interested in getting involved with the project Click here for more information

Field Work Opportunity at the Bradford Kaims Wetland Site

The Bradford Kaims Wetland Heritage Research Project is pleased to announce new dates for field work.

Recent Results from the Site

After cleaning the site thoroughly we have revealed several discrete features (pits filled with burned material) and the main area of burning has been shown to consist of several different events of dumped burned material surrounding the early stone feature in the centre of the trench.  We had a great day on Saturday despite the wind and further test pits have been opened, and there’s even been some metal detecting.  We are making good progress and look forward to revealing the detail of the site through our next fieldwork sessions.

The dates for upcoming field work are as follows: Wednesday 21st March, Thursday 29th March, Saturday 31st March and Saturday 7th April.

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Volunteers coring for soil samples at the site.

Volunteers test pitting

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.

To take a look at the aims of this project click here

To take a look at the field work to date, please have a look at previous posts here on the blog.

Aerial Photography from the Bradford Kaims

Horizon AP have been back out at Hoppen Hall Farm and the Kaims Wetland site as part of the Bradford Kaims Wetland Heritage Research Project.

Horizon AP have spent time filming the area from an aerial cam. To see the process in action click here.  You can also take a look at the work they have already undertaken by clicking here. The video below comes from their first tester flight.

Link for video http://vimeo.com/31681857

Recent Work

The images below are from the most recent flight above the site and show the wetland topography, the open area excavation of the features dated to 4500-4000 BC and the trenches situation amongst this interesting landscape.

Embleton Bog

View of the target area

Aerial view of the open area trench with the new extension to the left

View of the trench and test pits with Embleton's Bog in the distance. Note the edge of the peat in the trench.

Relationship between archaeological features and the natural topography are made clear in this image.