TAS LECTURE | Reminder for Tue 27th June | Pons Aelius to Pandon | Jennifer Morrison

This month’s exciting lecture is about “Pons Aelius to Pandon – Newcastle upon Tyne from Roman to Early Medieval times”. In this, Jennifer Morrison will be discussing the change of the town in its early stages from a small vicus which surrounded the fort on Hadrian’s Wall to an establishment of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery. Some excavations on the Roman vicus and cemetery have produced some rather fascinating finds and former County Archaeologist Barbara Harbottle has excavated the Anglo-Saxon cemetery. Interestingly, there is no archaeological evidence to date of the Anglo-Saxon settlement which would accompany this. Jennifer’s talk will discuss the alternative suggested locations of the Early Medieval Settlement.

Jennifer is currently working as a part of Newcastle City Council as the Planning Archaeologist and HER (Historic Environment Record) Officer or Tyne and Wear. Alongside this, she also provides archaeological service to Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland Councils. Having studied at both Durham and Newcastle University, Jennifer was the former Secretary and President of Northumberland Archaeological Group, the Secretary for the buildings committee for the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and the Secretary of CBA North. Jennifer is currently a committee member of North East Ancient Egypt Society and the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland.

Please remember that the location of the lecture this week is back at the library as usual.


TAS LECTURE | Reminder for Tue 30th May | NOTIFICATION OF LOCATION CHANGE | Lindisfarne and the Holy Island Archaeology Project |David Petts

Please note this month’s lecture can not be held in Stockton Library because it is being used as a polling station. Due to this, there has been a location change to Queen’s Campus, Durham University Stockton Campus room D 004.

Lindisfarne is home to one of the most famous monasteries in England. AD635 was when Kind Oswald founded the monastery, with its influence spreading far afield into continental Europe. This is, however, still to be found. This talk will discuss Lindisfarne, the Holy Island Projevt and the investigation into the location of the priory.

David Petts currently works as Senior Lecturer in Archaeology of Northern England at Durham University. He has worked on projects on the Lindisfarne monastery and has written books on the Early Medieval Church in Wales. David’s main interests are Social Archaeology of the 1st Millennium AD.



(Photo from: https://www.dur.ac.uk/research/directory/staff/?id=5760)

TAS LECTURE | Reminder for Tue 18th April | Early Post-Glacial Hunter-Gatherers of Northern England – and Well Beyond | Professor Peter Rowley-Conwy

April 2017’s lecture, by Professor Peter Rowley-Conwy of Durham University, considers ‘Early Post-Glacial Hunter-Gatherers of Northern England – and Well Beyond’.

Professor Rowley-Conwy works in the department of Archaeology at Durham University as a professor of Environmental Archaeology. He has a particular interest in pigs and has won two major awards concerning the archaeology of pigs. His pig research determines the seasons of hunting through considering tooth eruption and bone growth.

Concerning a publication titled ‘Wild things in the North? Hunter-Gatherers and the tyranny of the colonial perspective’ he considers the spread and the origins of agriculture. One of his areas of interests includes hunter-gatherers, origins of agriculture and early agriculture.


(Photograph and information from Durham University staff biography page. Found at https://www.dur.ac.uk/archaeology/staff/?id=164)


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY | Skelton (Redcar & Cleveland) Boroughgate Medieval Earthworks Project

Tees Archaeology, as part of the Skelton Townscape Heritage Project, is leading a volunteer opportunity working with the local people and any volunteers in investigating and recording Medieval earthworks at Boroughgate in Skelton.

This will include taking part in survey work to create full records of the earthworks, using these records alongside Arial Photographs and results from a Geophysical Survey in order to interpret the earthworks and identify locations for excavations beginning 2018.

The survey work will be taught and no previous experience is required.

Visit http://www.teesarchaeology.com and follow the link titled ‘Skelton Townscape Heritage Project’ or visit http://www.skeltontownscapeheritage.org.uk for more information and the volunteer forms.


(Information above sent via email from Ian Jones, Tees Archaeology)

ICE AND FIRE | Eston Hills Project

Eston Hills are a signature feature of Teesside’s landscape. Adam Mead, Durham Archaeology student and Events Coordinator for the society, is project leader on an exciting new endeavour to examine the historical relevance of such an influential area. Titled ICE AND FIRE , the project “aims to explore, record and celebrate the evidence for over ten thousand years of human life, death, ingenuity and persistence.”

For more information, please visit http://www.estonhillsproject.wordpress.com.

TAS LECTURE | Reminder for Tue 28th March | Flyingdales Moor: After the Wildfire | Blaise Vyner.

The landscape of the moorland at Flyingdales was completely changed following a devastating wildfire in 2003, destroying 2.5 square kilometres of land. This devastating natural disaster unearthed an abundance of archaeological sites including: Rock Art, Standing Stones, Cairns, Enclosures and Burial Mounds, some of which were previously unknown. There have been many excavations since the fire, most importantly the 2004 Stoupe Brow excavation by Steve Sherlock and this month’s speaker: Blaise Vyner.

Blaise has had 40 years experience as a professional archaeologist, working as County Archaeologist for Cleveland (1978-1991) and has much practical experience and knowledge of the archaeology of Yorkshire and the surrounding areas. Blaise is the author of many books, including ‘Flyingdales: Wildfire and Archaeology’ and is well-known within Teesside Archaeological Society.


(Image Source: http://www.blaisevyner.co.uk/contact.php)

TAS Lecture | Reminder for Tuesday 28th June | All that glitters. Metal detecting, The Treasure Act and the Portable Antiquities Scheme Revolution | Dr. Ben Roberts

28th June |All that glitters: Metal detecting, The Treasure Act and the Portable Antiquities Scheme Revolution  Dr. Ben Roberts 7.30pm at Stockton Central Library TS18 1TU. Guests are welcome for £4 each on the door.

Dr. Ben Roberts completed his PhD on the Origins and Early Development of Metallurgy in Western Europe at the University of Cambridge. Since then, he worked at the British
Museum as Curator for the European Bronze Age collections, and encompassed the recording of Bronze Age hoards found by metal-detecting in England, and the researching and co-writing of 41 programmes in the British Museum/ BBC Radio 4 series and accompanying book A History of the World in 100 Objects, before joining Durham University Department of Archaeology as lecturer. In this talk, Dr. Roberts will discuss the impact of the Treasure Act (1996, 2002) and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

TAS Desert Island Competition


Desert Island Competition!

Along the lines of Desert Island Discs, imagining yourself marooned as a castaway on the balmy Farne Islands (warmer during the Jurassic) with a salvaged trunk of books, we invite you to write about the books – or an experience – that got you hooked on archaeology, heritage and history. What would be in your trunk?

Tell us about your top three to ten books that shaped your fascination, or write about an experience that captured your imagination and interest. Pictures are great too. We’ll publish the winner and runners up in the bumper TAS BULLETIN Journal 19 (for 2014), in preparation now. The winner will receive a bottle of either Benylin or something sparkling – probably the latter – at the January 2015 AGM. Send your entry to teesarchsoc.news@gmail.com by close, Sunday 7th December.

Join TAS today and get membership through 2015!*

*New members only (excludes lapsed membership).
Subscriptions are normally due on 1 January each year.

 A bit of small print: you do not need to be a TAS member to enter this competition, but we encourage you to join and share in the rich, distinctive heritage of north east England. Pictures must include copyright and/or source credit if not your own. The winner will be selected, subject to suitable submissions, by the TAS Committee whose decision is final, and will be notified by email. If under 21, the winner will receive a book token. You can also send entries by post to TAS Chair, 85 Nutbourne Street, London W10 4HL but please do not send original pictures or materials. The prize must be collected at the AGM or subsequent meeting in Stockton Central Library unless other arrangements are agreed. Only subscribed TAS members are eligible to receive the Bulletin Journal in print or electronic format.

Acknowledgement: thanks to Dr Lorna Richardson, University College London, for the inspiration and permission to extend this to TAS. See Desert Island Archaeology at http://desertislandarchaeologies.wordpress.com/

Kind Regards,

Spencer Carter | TAS Chair & eCommunications

TAS Volunteer Request : Tees Heritage at Risk

The Teesside Archaeological Society seeks volunteer on Middlesbrough electoral register to contact Council’s Planning Department for fact-finding

AcklamHallDear TAS Members and Friends,

We are seeking a volunteer, preferably a TAS member, who is on the electoral register in the Borough of Middlesbrough and who would be willing to write/email to the Planning Department, under guidance from TAS and the Council for British Archaeology. A request can be made directly (a Council response is usually required within a stated timeline) or under the Freedom Of Information Act (requiring a 20-day response).

  • See the video, below, about buildings already lost to development in Middlesbrough since the 1960s – it makes for depressing viewing. One could add medieval Eston Church in Redcar & Cleveland which was moved to Beamish Museum after years of stone theft (the vestry was stolen!), arson and unchecked vandalism.

The purpose is to request purely factual information about the nature of archaeological evaluations (and their results) that have taken place, or which are planned, in relation to development activities that are either approved/underway or in the application/appeals process. We note that where English Heritage have been involved, they tend to focus on the built heritage structures and not the archaeological landscape (pers comm).

The four focus areas are:

  • St Hilda’s, Middlesbrough
    MbroVulcanThe original location ‘over the border’ for Middlesbrough’s 19th century origins but with Early Medieval monastic forebears and evidence for prehistoric activity – noting the church was demolished and the whole area subject to development and social failure for many 20th-century generations (TAS Bulletin 11, 2006). A linear park development proposal along Vulcan Street is in an area where previous assessments have indicated that important archaeological assets remain (pers comm);
    Development plans include at least 8.1 hectares.
  • Acklam Hall
    Grade I Listed (header image) and cited in the Domesday book, Medieval landscape and natural environment assets all with a troubled recent history;
    56 executive homes and health hub, planning permissions granted early in 2013;
    Removal of 200 mature trees has already taken place (2014, pers comm and see videos, below);

    “A land’s worth should not always be measured in terms of commercial value, but by its value to communities.”

  • Coulby Newham, off Stainton Way
    Housing development almost complete to the west of Dixon’s Bank and Nunthorpe;
    There is (or was) an Iron Age/Romano-British settlement on Dixon’s Bank* very close to this development (Durham Archaeological Journal 12, 1996) and recent investigations at Fairy Dell (this year) have proven Medieval activity on ancient trods (tracks) through this landscape;
    Original residents’ campaign and petition against green-belt development was unsuccessful.
    *Similar Iron Age and Romano-British evidence seems to exist all around this area, largely obliterated by post-WWII and late 20th-century housing developments such as near Gypsy Lane, Nunthorpe and St Mary’s Church (1926, see below).
  • Grey Towers, Nunthorpe
    StMarysNunthorpe“New village” (295 executive homes) at Nunthorpe near Poole Hospital site;
    There is an Iron Age/Romano-British site under and around St Mary’s Church, literally across the Stokesley Road, and a Medieval landscape (monastic, perhaps a deserted medieval village) at Nunthorpe Village to the south, plus earlier prehistoric flint finds in the vicinity (NE Yorks Mesolithic Project & pers comms).

“The David Wilson homes project at Grey Towers Farm, Nunthorpe, was opposed by local campaigners but the scheme was given planning consent by Middlesbrough Council’s planning committee. A 3,000 signature petition was raised against the plan. Campaigners objected to greenfield land being used for housing instead of brownfield sites. They also feared it would have an adverse impact on infrastructure, such as congestion.”
Evening Gazette 06-Mar-2013 »

Image | © Copyright Mick Garratt and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

  • Are there more developments that you would include?


Since the Council’s withdrawal of funding from Tees Archaeology (the regional professional archaeology advisory and HER service), Middlesbrough Council’s planning process (in relation to the National Planning & Policy Framework − NPPF, and Historic Environment Record − HER maintenance) has not been publicly visible. By writing to the Council we aim to learn what archaeological and heritage-related activities they have been undertaking in areas of commercial and residential development. This is not about positioning, only about fact-gathering.

“In these very challenging times of austerity I think we all empathise with the many organisations − governmental or otherwise – who must make extremely difficult choices in the face of present and future constraints on their funding. However, heritage is a fragile and irreplaceable component of our shared environment, our sense of place, social well-being and economic success. It’s the role of organisations, such as TAS, regional and national, to persuade the decision-makers that Heritage and Archaeology can contribute real, tangible value across communities through footfall, tourism, inclusive participation and education. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.” — TAS Chair

Respect Middlesbrough’s Heritage | YouTube video 2:39 | Published 28-May-2014RespectMbroHer_Video

“Over the years Middlesbrough has lost some fantastic buildings. Everyone is in agreement that Local Government has been hit hard with cuts to their budget. However, I believe these buildings and conservation areas are regarded as a liability not an asset and are demolished or sold off when alternatives should be sought after to ensure these places are protected for future generations to enjoy. This collection of photographs shows buildings still very much talked about and missed by residents of Middlesbrough.”

Get in touch

If you are interested in writing to the Council, with support, please email teesarchsoc.news@gmail.com or telephone the Chair on zero-two-zero-eight 962 02 one-one.

TAS is an affiliate member of the Council for British Archaeology, CBA North and CBA Yorkshire.

Kind Regards,

Spencer Carter | TAS Chair & eCommunications

Disclaimer | While every effort has been made to provide accurate information, neither the writer nor TAS shall be responsible for any errors or consequential damages.

TAS LECTURE | Reminder for Tue 24 Jun | English Civil Wars NE Military Activity

Dear TAS Members and Friends,

This is a reminder for our next lecture at Stockton Central Library*, Tuesday 24 June kicking off at 7.30pm. Don’t forget to bring your membership card. Guests are welcome for £4 each on the door, but annual membership makes much more sense. Find out how to join on our website.

*Visit our website for travel directions.

Lecture Reminder

June 24 | The North East turned upside down: Military activity during the English Civil Wars | 2014 BONUS LECTURE


Phil Philo | Middlesbrough Museums

CivilWar_DE GHEYN, Jacob 16072014 marks the 370th anniversary of the Battle of Marston Moor, probably one of the most decisive and best known events of the English Civil Wars. The North East is not noted for other landmark events during this conflict but its people played a significant role during the wars. Phil’s talk will give the background to the conflict, particularly the first civil war, the armies, their equipment and tactics, and try to give a more detailed look at the importance of engagements fought, in particular at Piercebridge, Yarm and Guisborough early on in the war, to the later sieges at York, Scarborough, Newcastle and Skipton.

Kind Regards,

Spencer Carter | TAS Chair & eCommunications