ICE AND FIRE | Public Meeting with Anna Turley MP & Cleveland Police Commissioner | Fri-28-April

◊ Dear Microburins

The ongoing problems on Eston Hills and neighbouring farmland will be the subject of a Public Meeting hosted by Anna Turley MP at the Cleveland Inn, 37 Cleveland St, Normanby, Middlesbrough TS6 0LX at 5.30pm on Friday 28 April 2017. Cleveland Police Commissioner Barry Coppinger and ICE AND FIRE project director Adam Mead will also be in attendance.

The meeting is intended to discuss and explore, in an open community forum, both the issues and how cooperation between local government authorities, the emergency services, landowners, schools, residents and businesses might work together more effectively.

Acts of fire-setting, the burning of abandoned vehicles, illegal 4×4 and off-road vehicles, fly-tipping and other anti-social behaviour persist on an increasingly frequent basis, despite ongoing efforts by local services and voluntary organisations, including the Friends of Eston Hills, and media coverage.

The ICE AND FIRE project team and its stakeholders also believe that shifting public opinion – across generations from school children, their parents and people who benefit from tourism and economic footfall – is a local and regional priority. While the project aims to rescue archaeological and environmental assets where they are at risk, the longer term solutions must involve a coordinated effort to make anti-social behaviour entirely unacceptable in a community that values its rich historic, archaeological and natural environment.

More about the project and summer fieldwork »

Spence

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

Mesolithic North East Yorkshire | Free Tees Archaeology Report

◊ Dear Microburins,

Meso_NEYorks_TeesArch2Tees Archaeology and Historic England have just published a summary report about the North-East Yorkshire Mesolithic Project that completed recently. The report is aimed at a general readership and accompanies an illustrated e-booklet aimed at kids, as well as a guide to prehistoric lithics (flint).

Although Teesside is perceived as a recent industrial landscape, the natural history and archaeology is all around. We have definite evidence for the early post-glacial pioneer colonisers, reindeer hunters, around 8500 BC—the Early Mesolithic—as well as evidence for the filling out of the landscape in the later Mesolithic into the advent of Neolithic farming communities and monument builders. This is a long six-thousand year epoch and one of rapid climate change, warm-and-cold events, rising sea levels, a tsunami, and the creation of today’s Island Britain.

Microlith_EMDC_TeesEarly Mesolithic flint projectile point, Deepcar type, c. 8500 BC (a little later than Star Carr) from Eston Hills, Teesside. White flint has sources in East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, many tens of kilometres away. These rare but characteristic tools are found along river valleys.

TVA_LateMesLate Mesolithic flints from the North York Moors, c. 8000-4000 BC. Left are geometric narrow-blade microliths, usually used as projectile arrow barbs but also for other tasks; Top right are microliths and utilised flint blades; Bottom right is a core from which blades have been removed for working into tools. Coloured and speckled flint comes from beach and glacial till deposits on the NE coast and can still be picked up today. Some has been dragged over from Denmark and chalk beds now under the North Sea.

Spence

Mesolithic Teesside | Great free booklet by Tees Archaeology

Hunting the Hunter-Gatherers: Mesolithic Teesside

◊ Dear Microburins

Meso_TeessideThe lovely folks at Tees Archaeology have recently published a *free* and lavishly illustrated e-booklet on Mesolithic Teesside (oh yes, we have Mesolithic!).

The booklet brings together information about the first people of Teesside, north-east England, during the Mesolithic Period (around 10,000 – 4000 BC).

Congratulations to ‘flintman’ Peter Rowe and local artist Nigel Dobbyn!

Spence

Mesolithic silly season | Seals in the Tees

Dear microburins,

Mesolithic Spence (or The Mighty Microburin as DigVentures labelled my dorsal face, ha!) is back in London. The digging season, I’ve been away pretty much since June, is complete so that I can focus on commitments around the festive season: a few lithics reports to finish, fieldwork to write up, two journals to edit, somebody important to hug, readiness for the Teesside Archaeological Society (TAS) AGM in January, an endless list although the phone still rings with offers of commercial work. That’s good news. Clear the decks! My formative commercial presence, embodied in a website, is also nearly finished as I sit eying up mam’s rum-laden Christmas cake, exuding its rich and mind-altering odours, on the almost-too-high-to-reach (a legal high?) shelf. Heavens: I’ve already procured the Wensleydale cheese to accompany it.

TeesProjectLast week in the north-east was jam-packed and rich with opportunity. The River Tees Rediscovered HLF Landscape Partnership project kicked off its heritage & archaeology steering committee with a great scoping and idea-sharing session at Tees Barrage (literally in the barrage’s south tower) overlooking a seal, yes in the Tees, with a whopping fish in its mouth.

Saturday last saw the equally compelling AASDN (Durham and Northumberland Arch & Archs) day workshop, supported by CBA North and TAS, focused on the planning process and building stakeholders around ‘heritage at risk’ advocacy. It was fantastic to meet old friends, some throwback blasts from the past, and to make new friends too. I’ll write more about both very soon. I also wish all the candidates good luck for the Local Heritage Engagement Network officer (LHEN) at the Council for British Archaeology – interviews underway. Congratulations too to Tara-Jane Sutcliffe on her new role as Antiquity’s operational editor. I know she’ll be missed at CBA after a compelling and energised tenure there.

Durham day workshop on the planning process and heritage advocacy. I’m hoping we can do a Teesside-based follow-on session in 2015.

 

Meantime, my friend David Mennear, aka These Bones of Mine blogger, published another excellent post about the Bradford Uni Lithics Lab and lithics use-wear PhD research – as always an excellent and read. Likewise, another great friend Lorna Richardson has just published an insightful paper, based on her doctoral thesis (she is Dr Lorna now with bells on), concerning themes of authoritativeness, expertise, reputation and inclusion (or otherwise) in a social-media-mediated digital world. I highly recommend the read. And celebrate the fact that Internet Archaeology is a fully free open access journal – hurrah!

RFS_Tale_01Lastly, Clive Waddington published the popular book about Low Hauxley and the Rescued from the Sea project which completed last summer. It’s lovingly written, celebrates the community venture that made it all possible, certainly isn’t a dumbed down rendition of complex archaeology, and is beautifully illustrated – a bargain at £10 from the Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s website.

Hopefully I’ll come up for air soon, and perhaps I’ll see you at TAG (Theoretical Archaeology Group) Manchester later in December?

Spence

Lock up your pets and grannies | Microburin’s on video

2014_SHBS_KirkvidAs if the world isn’t dangerous enough, @microburin is now on video – sounding alarmingly like Prince Harry – at Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar & Cleveland. The video introduces the Street House Before the Saxons exhibition which runs until July 2015. There are a few of my Mesolithic flint images (and text) on the info-boards too. MicrolithsThe Street House Farm archaeology project has been running since the 1980s under the directorship of Steve Sherlock, archaeologist extraordinaire and the chap currently responsible for the archaeological oversight of the A1(M) works between Leeming and Barton, including Roman Catterick CATARACTONIUM fort and town.

Street House, near Loftus in East Cleveland, has archaeological remains from at least the Neolithic − an early timber mortuary structure – through numerous Bronze Age burial mounds (and a wossit), an extensive Iron Age farming community who were probably making and selling salt, Romano-British canny folk who were manufacturing Whitby Jet objects like beads, spindle whorls and probably pins, with suggestions of continuity into the early post-Roman ‘dark ages’. There are also hints in the lithics of possible Later/Terminal Mesolithic activity, which is right up my street.

Of course, despite many thousands of years of human activity, Street House is probably best known for the Anglo-Saxon Royal Princess buried in a 7th-century AD cemetery, in her bed, with breathtaking jewels of gold and garnet, on permanent display. Do try visit both exhibitions—and peruse the Street House Roman phallus carving from the 2013 excavations?

Spence