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Viewing swaag.org website implies consent to set cookies on your computer. Full details Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group
Registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation Number 1155775
SWAAG Honorary President:
Tim Laurie F,S,A,
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News Archive
Slei Gill Walk 9th September 2023
Alan and Judith Mills lead a very informative and interesting walk on Saturday 9th September. It was a very hot and humid day for September. We were joined by 13 members and friends.

Lead mining in the Arkengarthdale area can be traced back prior to the Norman Conquest. In the early to mid 19th century a significant population in the Swaledale (8K) and Arkengarthdale (2K) were in some way employed in lead mining.

Passing through Arkle Town – the old administrative centre of Arkengarthdale – we passed through the old church yard – the church having been moved in 1820. The first area of mine workings were reached at Booze Wood level where the entrance to the level can be clearly seen. Moving along the bottom of the valley and through a tunnel we approached the area that had held the crushing mill and water wheel that powered the crush rollers.

Returning to the main footpath we approached the area of Slei Gill. Visible were the Hushes on either side of the valley, and going up towards Fell End. As we moved along the track and into Slei Gill Alan explained how the area had been devastated by the flood in 2019. Old mine working had been lost and new areas had been exposed. These were recorded only to be lost again in November 2019 during another flood event.

Travelling further up the valley we observed bell pits, hushing and several level entrances – including Scotts level, Booze Wood, Doctor, Procter, Sun Gutter, Tanner Rake. Alan indicated the areas of other crushing mills, railway lines and the site of the smelter.

We then returned along the track passing the Tythe House and into the hamlet of Booze, and on to Langthwaite.
Booze Wood Level Group at Scotts Level
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Slei Gill
News Record: 172     Updated: 03-10-2023 14:34:11

Visit to Gueswick Hill with Altogether Archaeology
On Friday 25th August nine members of SWAAG visited Altogether Archaeology’s current dig at Gueswick Hill on the outskirts of Cotherstone, Country Durham.

Seven members of the group partook in lunch at the Fox & Hounds prior to the visit to the dig.

Tony Metcalfe from AA gave the group a comprehensive tour of the site, a large flat topped hill with agricultural terraces on the east side. The site was occupied from early Iron Age to the end of the Roman occupation – dating was obtained from Charcoal and other datable finds. There is the potential for a Bronze Age settlement as charcoal was found in the bottom of the ditch excavated on the north side of the settlement in 2022.

The terraces date from the early Iron Age, DNA analysis from test pits show cattle, sheep and pigs have been grazed at various times on these terraces. Moving on to the top of the hill on the east side Tony explained the areas excavated in 2021 and indicated where the palisade ditch ran around the south / east side of the hill.

Moving across to the north / west side of the hill and the area currently being excavated. T4 the main trench which should contain the hut circle. To date the hut circle had not been exposed. Paved floors and cobbled areas were visible and a hearth tested using a magnetic technique indicated that it had been used for domestic purposes (600C). Area showed 4 quern stones had been set into the cobbled and paved areas.

T5 and T6 were also visited – T5 an enclosure ditch and T6 showing an area of ridge and furrow.

Tony then showed some of the major finds from the site and models made by one of the members showing how the settlement would have looked in the Iron Age period.
Area of potential Round House. Paved area at far end of trench contains the hearth Two of the quern stones removed from the floor
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News Record: 171     Updated: 29-09-2023 17:15:12

Druids and Romans
Yvonne Luke gave an excellent talk to us in July, about the prehistoric monument complex at Sleight’s Pasture, near Ribblehead. Ingleborough Archaeology Group have surveyed this unusual site and meticulously plotted all the stones. This has revealed a ring cairn within a stone circle. Little wonder that the antiquarians of old thought that they were dealing with druids! An excavation took place in 1828 and a newspaper article, published shortly afterwards, referred to the recovery of an antique drinking cup, a bronze spearhead, and a flint. These finds suggest multiple use of the site from the Neolithic to the middle Bronze Age. No bones were recovered. The site has been robbed out on one side and the stones used in field walls along the Richmond to Lancaster turnpike road which runs nearby. There is some 18th century documentary evidence to suggest there may have originally been two cairns in the area. The site also has curious, unexplained lobes which abut the stone circle, one of which lies on a cardinal point. Research into the site continues.

Later in July, over 20 SWAAG members enjoyed a visit to Binchester Roman Fort (Vinovia), on the outskirts of Bishop Auckland. Our guide was David Mason, who is the Principal Archaeologist at Durham County Council. David provided a fascinating insight into life in the forts (there were two) and updated us about the most recent discoveries there. The sun shone, so most of us stayed on for a picnic and a further potter around the site.

J. H.
Looking at the hypocaust The second hot room
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News Record: 170     Updated: 21-09-2023 18:46:39

 
 
 
 
 
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