Archaeology – Lowe Hill Conservation, History and Much More

A FREE day school on Friday  2nd of June 2017

Venue: Thornes Park College (Wakefield) and the castle itself

Start Time: 10.30

Lowe Hill motte and bailey castle (Thornes Park, Wakefield, UK

Lowe Hill is Wakefield’s hidden castle.  It is situated on the highest point of Thornes Park and the earthworks are currently obscured by trees. The Friends of CHAT (Clarence, Holmfield and Thornes parks) have begun a programme of work which will enhance the historic and amenity values of the site. This FREE day school is aimed at anyone interested in the history and display of earthwork castles and at those who might be interested in volunteering for the Lowe Hill Project.

 

Topics to be discussed will include:

The history and archaeology of earthwork castles

Problems of management and conservation

Interpreting the past to the public

The role of the volunteer

Keeping volunteers and members of the public

 

 

 

 

 

Pudsey and District: People, Resources and Heritage

A new history course starts 25/04/3017

Venue: Parish Church of St James the Great, Pudsey

Time: 10.00 – 12.00

Cemetery lodge, Pudsey

For seven Tuesdays mornings starting on April 25th, 2017 (with a break for half term) I will be teaching another heritage course for the WEA based at the Parish Church of St James the Great, (Galloway Lane, Pudsey, LS28 8JR). The standard fee £48.00 though the course is FREE if you are in receipt of income related benefit (only SEA funded).

Course details

Bankhouse Well, Pudsey

The course considers the interaction between people and landscape. It focuses on how natural resources have been exploited through history and on how this affects the character of the region today.

Topics to be discussed will include:

  • The geological past, Withdrawal of the ice, plant cover and the natural world, the coming of the first people
  • Hunter gatherers, the creation of moorland, uses of the moors in medieval and early modern times
  • Neolithic Revolution, fields from hedgerow to stone walling
  • Water, as an object of devotion, Iron Age burials, spring line settlements, the siting of dams and weirs, water power Canals, drinking water supply, sewage
  • Woodland and its management, woodland clearance, coppicing and standards, wood as a construction material, import of timber, import of exotics for estates and gardens
  • Coal, railways, the Age of Steam
  • Stone: quarrying, houses, Victorian towns

For further details or to book in please in advance visit the WEA website

Discover the Heritage of Otley and District

Wharfedale looking towards Burley and Otley

Wharfedale looking towards Burley and Otley

For seven Thursdays starting on January 19th 2017 (with a break for half term) I will be teaching a new heritage course for the WEA.  It will be based at Otley Courthouse, (Courthouse Street, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3AN.The standard fee £48.00 though the course is FREE if you are in receipt of income related benefit (only SEA funded).

The course will look at the following topics:

  • Anglo-Scandinavian cross shaft with dragon carving. Otley.

    Anglo-Scandinavian cross shaft with dragon carving. Otley.

    The Wharfe Valley in Prehistoric and Roman times: prehistoric trackways, Roman roads, prehistoric monuments (e.g. Bull Stone, hut circles on Otley Chevin), Roman settlement in the locality

  • Anglo-Saxon and Domesday Otley – place name evidence, Elmet and Craven, archbishop of York’s estates in Wharfedale, effects of Norman Conquest
  • Medieval Otley – place name evidence, documentary sources, field systems, modern map evidence
  • Tudors and Stuarts – effects of the dissolution of the Monasteries, development of gentry classes, Tudor/Jacobean housing boom
  • Church and chapel; rise of non-conformity, Waterloo Churches, role of churches in social life
  • Transport networks- pack horse routes, turnpikes, railways
  • Victorian and early 2th century Otley – agriculture and industry, tourism, development of commuting

To find out more or to book a please visit the WEA website.

 

The Growth of a City: Bradford 1750-1950

A new heritage course in Pudsey

St James Hospital, formerly the workhouse.

St James Hospital, formerly the workhouse.

For seven Tuesdays starting on January 17th 2017 (with a break for half term) I will be teaching another heritage course for the WEA based at the Parish Church of St James the Great, (Galloway Lane, Pudsey, LS28 8JR).The standard fee £48.00 though the course is FREE if you are in receipt of income related benefit (only SEA funded).

Course details

The seven sessions will look at:

  • Bradford Mechanics' Institute

    Bradford Mechanics’ Institute

    Welfare – Poor Law, workhouses charitable foundations, alms-houses

  • Public Health – Slum conditions, cholera outbreaks, hospitals and dispensaries
  • Education – from church school to comprehensive
  • Public utilities – water, gas, electric
  • Law and order
  • Public transport – buses trams

 

To find out more or to book a please visit the WEA website.

 

Archaeology at Austhorpe: Results

Last June I posted to say that I was looking forward to working with Austhorpe Primary School on their forthcoming archaeological project. At the time I wondered whether the finds would be similar to those which we found in during a similar project in 2013.

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19th and 20th century pottery

It became clear that they weren’t, soon after we began to excavate. . In 2013 we found a large range of finds including what might have been a Roman coin and what were certainly fragments of medieval pottery. In 2016 was found only a few artefacts of 19th and 20th century date. The only way I can think of to explain the contrast is that in 2013 were working at the edge of the school playing filed on what used to be farmland and that in 2016 we were not . The 2013 finds could have come from night soiling – the practice of spreading household waste and farmyard manure onto the fields as fertiliser. This year we were probably working on part of the grounds which had been landscaped during the building of the school. If that’s so, the soil (and the finds in it) could have been brought in from anywhere as bedding for laying the school lawns.

Children working on site

Children working on site

Despite the small number of finds the children all enjoyed themselves and worked very hard during their excavations sessions. For me it proves (if proof were needed) that there’s more to education than learning from books…

To download a pdf of the complete site report click on the link below.

Austhorpe 2016 Site Report v 3

 

 

Austhorpe Excavations 2016

Fragments of clay tobacco pipe

Fragments of clay tobacco pipe

It’s nearly three years since I last dug at Austhorpe Primary School on the outskirts of Leeds (West Yorkshire, UK). We’ve started on a on a second dig there today. We’ve not done any excavation yet just some classroom teaching and some site preparation. Fieldwork starts in earnest tomorrow. However, I can’t help wondering what we are going to find. Perhaps there’ll be more pipe stems like these from the 2013 excavations.

There are more pictures of finds from the 2013 excavations at Austhorpe on my Facebook page.

Archaeology in Horsforth

At work on the project

At work on the project

Last Monday was spent in digging in the grounds of St Mary’s School Horsforth (West Yorkshire, UK). I was being helped by a group of students from Leeds Trinity University. This gave us a unique opportunity to work one-to-one with the children.  Usually there are only a couple of adults with the class and I find myself running from child to child in an attempt to answer all their questions. Having more people made the whole thing more relaxing and enjoyable for me.

There’s a serious side to all this though. For the pupils it was a chance to learn about how archaeology works in a practical and fun way. For the students it was an opportunity to see how they might be able to incorporate archaeology into their own classrooms when they become fully qualified teachers.

Finds were not many – several bricks, a few pieces of Victorian/y 20th century pottery, and what might be a George V penny. However, it does prove the point that history is right there under your feet.

For the schoolchildren and the students the project is now over but not for me. I still have a site report to write up. I’ll be putting it up here in a few weeks time.