ICE AND FIRE | 2017 Community Rescue Archaeology Project on Teesside

◊ Dear Microburins,

I’m delighted, as TimeVista Archaeology, to be part of this project team: a HLF-funded community project on Teesside, North-east England – supported by the local MP – ICE AND FIRE! Volunteer opportunities for outdoor fieldwork and indoor activities will be announced soon – all with training, so no previous experience is needed. You can register your interest via the website. The rescue project will look at the prehistoric archaeology of this fragile upland landscape from the end of the last Ice Age. Most fieldwork will take place in summer 2017 but with seasonal fieldwalking too. DOWNLOAD THE BROCHURE »

Project director Adam Mead is a Durham University archaeology student and we’re grateful for considerable support from the department and Teesside Archaeological Society.

Spence

Two rants for the price of one | Narrow blades, Heritage at risk and Pledges

◊ Dear Microburins,

2016-10-01_crathes4bHere are a couple of ranty reads with mentions of the Mesolithic.

First is another great post from Caroline Wickham-Jones on her Mesolithic archaeology blog. Caroline (pictured) eloquently expounds some of the problems with typology-based dating.

“It is important to remember that type fossils are a tool that speaks to us, rather than one that we should force to fit in. We need to look at our finds and think carefully about what they might mean.”

hom_archaeoSecond up is an article I wrote for the Hands on Middlesbrough heritage campaigning group challenging the alleged suggestion, made in 2012, “that Middlesbrough has no archaeology”. Middlesbrough and its neighbouring boroughs, and Teesside overall, have an amazing portfolio of over 10,000 years of archaeology and built heritage! I offer some tips — against the value of heritage, the historic and archaeological environments — for easy steps to take in championing our shared past. A recommended reading list, much available online, and links to related resources are included at the end of the article.

Spence

TimeVista Archaeology | Updated projects

TimeVista_Logo_BW2◊ Dear Microburins,

My sister website at TimeVista Archaeology has been updated with the latest information about what I’ve been up to. It’s a very busy time with the new commercial aggregates project at Black Cat Quarry, entering its third week now, and with enough archaeology to welcome two diggers (of the trowel kind) for two weeks to record the current features. There are ditches, possible pits and, other than a sprinkling of tree-throws and animal burrows, a dark deposit on the gravel terrace edge which contains decorated Anglo-Saxon pottery sherds and animal bone. We’ve one worked flint blade fragment too — not easy to spot since the gravel is full of it, knapped by the digger’s bucket!

Post holes from the recent racing track circuit – still visible on Google Earth – are also evident, many containing 21st-century plastic bottles (still full), cola and beer cans, and modern debris. Top- and sub-soil stripping is continuing apace, constantly monitored, in what will be a 34 ha quarry extension over the next two years. We hope to sign-off the first area for gravel extraction before the Christmas break, if the county archaeologist agrees. The alarm is set for 5am and another week.

TimeVista projects »

Spence

Quarrying Time | New Job for Microburin

blackcatI’m very pleased to announce a new engagement, potentially lasting until 2018/19: Archaeological Project Officer (self-employed at TimeVista Archaeology in association with Archaeological Research Services Ltd.).

Project management for phases 11-14 (2016-18) at Black Cat North aggregates quarry, Bedfordshire (Breedon Group) adjacent to the River Great Ouse. Previous phases have included Bronze Age, Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon archaeology. The role, executed to CIfA standards, includes:

  • Watching briefs during topsoil-basal deposit removal to identify and map potential archaeological assets;
  • Coordination and management of periodic fieldwork (excavation and specialist resources);
  • Maintenance of site archives;
  • Community engagements and dissemination;
  • Post-excavation coordination across artefact, ecofact, bio & palaeo-environmental, dating and conservation specialisms;
  • Archive preparation, deposition and publication.

Wish me luck!

Spence

UK & Ireland Mesolithic Sites and Finds Update | Hermitage, Co Limerick

Europe’s Oldest Polished Axe?hermitage_axe-jpg__800x600_q85_cropHermitage, Co Limerick, Rep Ireland | Mesolithic cremation cemetery

  • Earliest polished axe (decomissioned? Mesolithic)
    “The cremation too, which requires a fire between 645 and 1,200 degrees would have also required some know-how and experience, Little tells Gartland. In fact, she says whoever prepared the grave took painstaking effort to pick up every tiny fragment of bone to put in the burial.”
    Smithsonian.com (09-Nov 2016) »
  • More Sites & Finds in the media »

Image | © University of York.