|At the beginning of August SWAAG had permission to explore some of the industrial archaeology on Preston Moor. It’s a fascinating but hazardous area, pockmarked by disused lead and coal workings. It has interesting fauna and flora too, including spring sandwort which has adapted to grow on the spoil heaps. Water-crowfoot, lesser spearwort, and more unusual cream field gentians were also spotted on the walk. The weather seemed to forget it was summer and after the lunch the skies fell, somewhat curtailing our visit to Cobscar smelt mill and the nearby chimney.
At the end of August SWAAG members participated in a very enjoyable three-day surveying course, run by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Community Heritage Officer, Doug Mitcham. This offered training in archaeology surveying and the use of Inkscape, a free graphics package for drawing. Our time was split between a temporary classroom in Fremington Sunday School and outdoor practical sessions on Grinton Mounds and Reeth Low Moor. This set us up for our Autumn’s more detailed surveying project on Grinton Mounds.
Our programme of talks began in September with a presentation by Joe Ogden, one of our student members. He has just completed his MSc in Landscape Archaeology and Digital Heritage, at Bradford University. He explained how, as part of his research, he had created 3D digital models to visualise the interior of Elbolton Cave, near Grassington. The prehistoric human remains, artifacts, and animal bones removed during various excavations have been digitised. Using information from historical records they have been positioned in the digital cave, giving the viewer an insight into how the cave might have appeared at the time of discovery.