21 January 2014
NEWS RELEASE - Big Dig launch seeks test-pit
in Swaledale are finalising plans for their biggest challenge to date – a
two-year community project to help dales folk search for clues to medieval and ancient
history in their own back yards.
Swaledale Big Dig is being organised by the Swaledale and Arkengarthdale
Archaeology Group (SWAAG) and will be launched with two free events in Reeth,
the first being a presentation by TV archaeologist and ‘Time Team’ expert Dr Carenza Lewis, of Cambridge University.
Residents in and
around Reeth and the neighbouring communities of Fremington and Grinton who
want to get involved in the project will be able to register their interest at
the launch presentation or at a follow-up Heritage Day exhibition. They will
also be able to enrol for any of a range of short educational courses being
organised as part of the project’s commitment to stimulate wider interest and
engagement in archaeology.
Project manager Alan
Mills, from SWAAG, said: “The Big Dig is primarily about archaeologists working
with residents to dig test pits on their own and public land. The pits will be
a meter square and up to a meter deep, and will help us to see snapshots of
what lies beneath our feet over a wide area of the landscape.
“Hopefully we will have
lots of pits so that collectively they will help us to formulate views about
the ages and development of settlement areas and to gain a better and broader
understanding of our local history. For the project to have value it has to be
very carefully organised and managed, which is why we are especially keen for
interested people to come to the launch events when Dr Lewis and others will
explain the significance of the project and show how it will work.”
The launch event is at
Reeth Memorial Hall on Thursday 13 March, starting at 7pm with presentations
running until about 8.30pm. The Heritage Day is at the same venue on Saturday
15 March from 10.30am to 3pm, and will include displays and information by
SWAAG, the Swaledale Museum and other local heritage organisations.
The Swaledale Big Dig
has received funding of £76,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and is supported
by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA). The project will run for the
rest of 2014 and throughout 2015. Further information is available at www.swaag.org.
Robert White, YDNPA’s Senior Historic
Environment Officer, said: “The National Park
Authority is pleased to be working with SWAAG. We
hope the project will help provide answers to lots
of questions about the historic development of Reeth
and Grinton , particularly why Reeth has such a
large village green or market place.”
Issued by Swaledale and Arkengarthdale
Archaeology Group, www.swaag.org. For
further information, images or interviews contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 01904 679826 or David Brooks email@example.com, 01969 623658.
Notes to editors
About Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group (SWAAG)
SWAAG is a volunteer-run community group which grew out of the
Friends of the Swaledale Museum some four years ago and now has more than 40
active members. We have been very successful in obtaining significant levels of
funding from bodies such as the LEADER programme, the Yorkshire Dales National
Park Authority and the Yorkshire Dales Sustainable Development Fund. Using that
support SWAAG has developed a programme of landscape and geophysical surveying
throughout the local area as well as an exceptionally informative and
wide-ranging website, three seasons of excavation, events for local schools and
regular themed walks for the general public.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage
Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present
and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums,
parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural
traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported
almost 35,000 projects with more than £5.5bn across the UK including £380m to
2,845 projects in Yorkshire & the Humber alone. Website: www.hlf.org.uk