|Our regular meetings at The Buck continue this year with a varied and interesting programme of speakers. We begin on 14th January with Christine Wallace who is a Textiles expert and will give us some insights into textile techniques through history. We then look forward to February's talk by professional archaeologist, Oliver Cooper of NAA, and in March, member Les Knight will share some controversial theories about erratics.
I am also delighted that Alan Mills has rescheduled his Bale Sites walk for 6th.June.
"Lead smelting in England and Wales in medieval times was carried out on carefully
constructed bonfires known in the North of England as ‘bales’. The open fire was usually situated in a position where there was exposure to wind of a consistent direction and strength and for this reason many were placed with an aspect ranging from south through to west, although this is by no means always the case. Bales were superseded around 1570 in England by the introduction of new technology in the form of the ore-hearth, which was powered by bellows and somewhat resembled a blacksmith’s hearth. The first archaeological work on bales is generally accredited to Arthur Raistrick who described a site at Winterings, Swaledale. Later, Lawrence Barker continued this work in Swaledale, identifying a number of bale sites on Calverside and Fremington Edge. More recently Richard Smith and the late Sam Murphy identified a number of sites, determining the age of some using radiocarbon dating.
On this walk we will explore the extensive remains of lead mining and smelting on Calverside. We will visit many of the bale sites on Calver Hill above Reeth and Healaugh on the N side of
the River Swale, two of which have been dated to the 15thC, one by Lawrence Barker, the other by Richard. Some of the bales are located near obvious signs of shallow mining others are generally lower down and appear to have treated ore from groups of mines and were better suited to minimise the transportation of fuel. There are two very large sites near the western foot of Calver where there are massive scatters of black and grey slags and in one case a large charcoal deposit. We will visit these, a number of other bale sites and also investigate the evidence of mining in the area."
For further details of all our talks, walks and outings, just keep an eye on the Activities Calendar (simply scroll down this page)