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Viewing 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 FSA
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Excellent Talk by Jane Sammells
For our February monthly meeting we had a very informative and entertaining talk by Jane Sammells of Curriculum Kitchen. For the main course Jane took us through her interest in history and food and explained to us the work she undertakes across the region to educate and inform people how and what our ancestors cooked and ate. She also brought along Roman style pottery and implements; sherds of which we have found on the Hagg. Jane also explained some of the Roman cooking techniques: lead pellets to sweeten your wine and puddings (did do a lot of good for your health!), edible snails - introduced by the Romans; edible dormice; garum a fermented fish sauce - went with everything; and the best way to get rennet, to make cheese, from a snail - it seems that the big question is whether or not you boil the snail first, a subtlety that some in the audience preferred not to consider.
For dessert Jane had prepared a selection of puddings from different periods: yoghurt flavoured with black pepper and honey; a ‘tart" with a filling of spiced prunes; a “Bishop Aukland custard tart" in which the main ingredients were mashed potatoes and eggs, dried fruit and spices; and boiled barley flavoured with rum, and spices. They were enjoyed by all, samples are taken home to those who missed the evening and recipes were exchanged. I can just imagine that there may be some interesting conversations at dinner parties in the dales!
This was a fascinating evening enjoyed by all and our thanks again to Jane for all of her hard work.
Dave Brooks
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News Record: 75     Updated: 19-02-2019 13:35:49

Surveying Project
Chairman Dave Brooks has written to SWAAG members today with news of an exciting new project:

Dear Members,
Can we interest you in a surveying project?
Tim Laurie has, over the past years, surveyed extensive areas of the northern dales and identified many archaeological features. Those surveys have been made available to SWAAG and Mike Walton is in the process of photographing them and geolocating them. We then propose to go out and to relocate the features, to photograph, and survey them in order to be able to develop gazetteers for the survey areas. Of course some features may no longer be there due to erosion, and other activities, others may now be buried in the heather and only visible after burning; all things of importance to know.
As you might imagine this is not going to be a quick project, we fully expect it to run for several years, for once the surveyed areas have been looked at, there is then all of the un-surveyed areas. The information we develop will be an important contribution to the archaeological record.
If you are interested in joining the project please let me know. If you have any questions drop me an email. Experience of surveying is not necessary as we will be running training courses and we expect to have professional guidance.
Look at it this way, how better to spend time in sunny Swaledale, than with friends exploring, and recording the archaeological record.
I look forward to hear from you.

This project is open to SWAAG members only. Anyone interested should contact Dave Brooks direct.
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News Record: 73     Updated: 23-01-2019 18:32:04

Excellent talk by Stuart Ross
On Tuesday 11th December, around 40 SWAAG members and friends braved the fog to hear Stuart Ross from Northern Archaeological Associates give an excellent talk about the archaeological discoveries during recent widening of the A1, Leeming to Barton.
The project lasted four years, employed 100 archaeologists and cost the taxpayer £400 million. Of 163 fields surveyed, 55 contained archaeology. Sites excavated included the Roman fort at Cataractonium and its vicus extending along Dere St, also Scotch Corner and Bainesse. The area has strategic importance as Dere St crosses the Swale here as it runs North from York and at Scotch Corner there is a crossroads with the road running west.
Finds at Scotch Corner suggest an Iron Age settlement with connections to Rome and beyond; finds of luxury items including amber and glass would support the theory that a "client Kingdom" was being developed. The large Roman fort at Cataractonium was founded in the early AD 70s and an extensive vicus developed. Building and fortification extends North of the Swale with evidence of timber buildings fronting Dere St including bread ovens and leatherworking. By the mid-2nd Century there was a defended vicus with stock enclosures and granaries and by the 3rd century a refortification and the emergence of a walled town. There is some evidence to support the theory that Bainesse was used as a river port, with goods travelling by water to that point and then transferred to road transport along Dere St to the North.
After stagnation during the late 3rd and early 4th centuries, there seems to have been a revival in the late 4th, early 5th centuries with new streets and industrial activity including some large stone buildings, possibly warehouses, on both sides of the river. Four large 6th century structures have been identified in Cataractonium, suggesting a continuing key strategic role for the area.
Finds illustrated during the talk included a phallus carving from the bridge abutment, a bone comb, a spear, an altar to a local god, a writing stylus and a toilet set. Finds from along Dere St. included anaerobic preservations such as shoes, leather offcuts and a wicker basket. Most intriguing was a miniature sword made in exactly the same way as a full-size version and capable of inflicting serious damage. A 2nd Century Roman cemetery contained 249 burials including that of a child with a jet and glass bead necklace.
Finds will eventually go to the Yorkshire Museum. The final monograph on the dig will be published in 2020. Many thanks again to Stuart for a fascinating presentation.
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News Record: 71     Updated: 23-01-2019 17:43:40

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