In July 2012, I led an archaeological project at Silkstone (South Yorkshire, UK). The project was commissioned by the Roggins Local History Group and (RLHG) funded by the East Peak Industrial Heritage Support Programme, (which is in turn co-funded by English Heritage, Defra and the European Union). The aim of the project was to provide practical archaeological experience not only for RLHG members but also for children from local schools. Two sites previously identified the RLHG were chosen for excavation.
The first was along the line of a passby for the Silkstone Waggonway, which was constructed in the 19th century to allow coal to be carried in horse-drawn waggons to the canal basin at Barnby near Cawthorne. Although the edge of the site had been damaged by pipe-laying in the 1960s, the excavation revealed several sleeper stones still in situ.
Tally house or repair shop?
In the second excavation we looked at the site of a building which had stood adjacent to a junction between the main waggonway and one of its subsidiaries. It had been thought that the building might have been a tally house for counting the number of waggons entering the main waggonway from the subsidiary, but this could not be proven. However, the excavation did recover a substantial number of metal objects including a section of broken rail. This has raised the possibility that the site may have been associated with repair work on the waggonway.