Project Summaries 2011
Allendale Farm, High Westwood, Co. Durham. Historic Building Recording. August 2011. (For Mr Featherstone).
A limited programme of building recording was carried out in advance of the conversion of redundant farm buildings to residential units at Allendale Farm (NZ 117 556) on the south flank of the Derwent Valley 1km north of Medomsley, the aim of the work being to provide a record of the fabric and features disturbed or uncovered during redevelopment works.
St. Mary's Church, Longframlington, Northumberland. Archaeological Watching Brief. January 2011. (For St. Mary's PCC).
An archaeological watching brief was carried out on between 11th-17th January 2011 on the north side of St. Mary’s Church, Longframlington, Northumberland during groundworks prior to the construction of a new community room attached to the north side of the church.
In the first phase of works, the site was levelled to a depth of 0.6 metres before the foundations for the new build were excavated. The initial levelling process revealed natural clay beneath the topsoil, but no finds or features of archaeological interest within the former or cut into the latter.
The second phase of groundworks involved the excavation of foundations within the sub-soil, a process which also failed to reveal any archaeological remains.
In conjunction with the above groundworks, work was carried out above ground to form a doorway in the north wall of the church, providing access from the latter to the new extension. This work entailed the surface stripping of the interior of a small section of the north wall, followed by the removal of this section of masonry block by block. The area of internal masonry revealed by surface stripping was recorded by the architect overseeing the project, while the removal of the masonry to produce a doorway opening was monitored by The Archaeological Practice Ltd. This process revealed that the wall was constructed from faced blocks, increasing in size towards the base of the wall, either side of a thin rubble core. A single sherd of medieval green-glazed pottery was recovered from the lower part of the wall core, but no other significant features were revealed during this process.
It is concluded that no finds or features of archaeological significance were encountered during the watching brief on groundworks at St. Mary’s Church, and no significant conclusions with regard to phasing could be drawn from the structural works to the fabric of the standing. It is concluded that the work had minimal impact upon the surviving cultural heritage remains within the site and does not significantly inhibit the potential of the surviving built remains to reveal information on relative or absolute dating at a future date.
Northumberland Park, Tynemouth. Archaeological Assessment.
June 2011. (For North Tyneside Council).
This report constitutes a desk-based cultural heritage assessment for the proposed re-development of Northumberland Park, Tynemouth. The assessment, undertaken by The Archaeological Practice Ltd at the request of North Tyneside Council, incorporates an audit of both discrete and more extensive historical landscape components and presents a synthesis of the overall chronology of the defined area. The assessment identifies cultural heritage constraints within the area of the proposed development and makes recommendations regarding additional work required to mitigate the potential impact of the proposed scheme for redevelopment.
The report collates evidence from a wide range of sources, including historic maps, secondary historical works, excavation reports and the Tyne and Wear Heritage Environment Record (HER). A site visit was also undertaken. This has resulted in the identification of a total of 33 sites and monuments within or in the vicinity of the proposed development site. These provide contextual information regarding the archaeological and historical development of the area.
It is concluded that the area of assessment retains the potential to preserve unknown features of prehistoric and later features associated with activities prior to the establishment of a hospital there in the 13th century. However, its principal importance lies is in the potential for the survival of archaeological remains relating to St. Leonard’s Hospital in the north-west part of the site. The archaeological and cultural heritage potential of the rest of the site is considered to be lower and largely restricted to known features relating to the Park as created in the 1880s, and to a railway line extending along the eastern boundary and south-east of the historic park.
The potential for the survival of significant archaeological remains in the vicinity of the site of St. Leonard’s Hospital as marked on the second edition of the Ordnance Survey series is considered to be high with regard to both buildings and burials. While the area upon and immediately south-west of the visible coffins and grave cover is considered to display highest potential for survival, the entire spur of land formed by the two branches of the Powburn, extending to the roadside (or, further east, the foot of its embankment) is considered to display reasonably high potential for the preservation of archaeological features.
Landscaping works within the park as well as the construction of the railway, pond and buildings will have had a negative effect on surviving archaeological remains in most other areas, particularly to the south of the promontory between the two branches of the burn, while the steep valley sides are also unlikely to preserve archaeological remains due to erosive forces. Particularly damaging with regard to the survival of archaeological features has been the extensive infilling of the Powburn which has taken place between an open section of the burn and the southern boundary of the park, and in the area immediately north of the lake. It appears likely that the area south of the Prince Edward road embankment has been less affected by infilling, although the ground there appears artificially-flattened. It is likely, therefore, that any archaeological features surviving the erosion of the valley sides and creation of the park will have been deeply buried in most parts of the former Powburn valley, except in the section immediately south of the lake.
It is recommended that a programme of archaeological excavation, preceded by geophysical survey, should be carried out in the north part of the Park in order to determine whether remains of St Leonard’s hospital survive there and, if so, to record their extent, depth and state of preservation. This excavation will inform proposals for more extensive archaeological work as part of the wider Park regeneration programme. A number of research questions for archaeological excavation are provided.
Recording a WWII Caracature of Winston Churchill found during refurbishment work at St. Mary's Hospital, Stannington, Northumberland.
March 2011. (For Bellway Homes).
A caricature image of Sir Winston Churchill, inscribed in charcoal or soft lead on a white-painted brick wall under the stage of the main (concert) hall of St Mary’s Hospital, Stannington, where planning permission had been agreed by the developer, Bellway Homes for the refurbishment and redevelopment of buildings constructed in early 20th century.
The Churchill caricature is drawn using charcoal or pencil on the white-painted inside brick wall of the under-stage space of the concert hall. The main part of the image, comprising the Churchill portrait and attached cigar, measures 0.59m high x 1.04m long, with the head itself 0.415m wide by 0.43m long. Above and below the portrait itself, effectively framing it, are some cloud motifs. To the bottom right of the image is the inscription, ‘TAZ ENSA 1943’.
It is thought that the image was drawn under the concert Hall stage in 1943 during the period that the hospital was commandeered by the Ministry of Defence for use as a hospital to treat injured personnel from around the world. In 1938 the stage actresses Lilian Braithwaite and Cybil Thorndike formed a concert section of ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) at the hospital, and performances were played to members of all three services in the concert hall above which the Churchill image was found. The identity of ‘TAZ’ in the inscription is unknown, but could be the nick-name of a stage worker.
A photographic recording of the image was undertaken by Richard Carlton of The Archaeological Practice Ltd. in March 2011 and the Architects Spencer & Dower prepared a method statement for its removal and conservation.
30-33 Church Street, Durham. Archaeological Assessment.
January 2011. (For Durham University).
This report constitutes a desk-based cultural heritage assessment for the proposed re-development of 30-33 Church Street, Durham City. The assessment, undertaken by The Archaeological Practice Ltd at the request of Atkins Global on behalf of Durham University, incorporates an audit of both discrete and more extensive historical landscape components and presents a synthesis of the overall chronology of the defined area. The assessment identifies cultural heritage constraints within the area of the proposed development and makes recommendations regarding additional work required to mitigate the potential impact of the proposed scheme for redevelopment.
The report collates evidence from a wide range of sources, including historic maps, secondary historical works, excavation reports and the Durham Heritage Environment Record (HER). A site visit was also undertaken. This has resulted in the identification of a total of 26 sites and monuments within or in the vicinity of the proposed development site. These provide contextual information regarding the archaeological and historical development of the area.
The Church Street site was originally part of the early medieval settlement which grew around, but principally in the area north of, St. Oswald’s church. Although the focus of urbanisation in Durham changed from the end of the 10th century with the establishment of a on the peninsula and foundation of the Castle and Cathedral, the settlement on Elvet continued to thrive and was eventually connected to the peninsula by the 12th century Elvet Bridge. The town was eventually divided into boroughs; Church Street (Kirkgate), which was almost certainly in existence by the 12th century, fell under the barony of Elvet (held by the Prior), but merged with the Borough of Elvet to the north in the 14th century.
The pattern of tenements built upon the west side of Church Street appears to have changed little since the medieval period, and although the current buildings occupying 30-33 Church Street are more typical of the flowering of Durham’s building that took place in the late 17th and 18th centuries, they clearly incorporate elements of their predecessors, perhaps of medieval or early post-medieval date.
It is recommended that the groundworks associated with the construction of the buttresses and the external staircase be closely supervised and monitored by a professional archaeologist and that, should any remains of significance be revealed, sufficient time is allowed for them to be appropriately excavated and recorded.
With regard to the buildings themselves, it is recommended that a full historic building recording should be carried out as these 18th century buildings clearly incorporate elements of their predecessors, which may have been of medieval date. The building recording should include a full recording of the bay-window on the rear wing of no.30 which is to be replaced, as well as the north gable wall of no.33 which may well be of early origin and is to be partially replaced.
Alndale Hall, Glanton, Northumberland. Historic Building Recording.
August 2011. (For Gill and Norman Dunn).
A limited programme of building recording has been carried out in advance of the proposed demolition of a redundant church building in Glanton, Northumberland. The work has been requested by Northumberland Conservation and is to be submitted as part of a planning condition to Northumberland County Council.
The photographic recording was undertaken in July 2011 using colour digital photography. In addition, a measured plan of the buildings has been produced and annotated to show historic phasing. In addition, an attempt was made to research the history of the building through locally available historic maps and records.
This attractive but austere building, known by the Plymouth Brethren as a ‘Gospel Hall’, is largely devoid of ecclesiastical features, in keeping with the tradition of meeting houses associated with such radically nonconformist groups, although the configuration of two halls (the lesser for Sunday School use) with a folding screen between, is an arrangement familiar in meeting houses of the Society of Friends (Quakers).
Prefabricated meeting halls such as this, put up by a variety of religious groups were once common in towns and villages throughout the country, but relatively few remain today. The Glanton example is unremarkable in its self, but of considerable historical interest given the part it, or rather the congregation who once met and worshipped within it, has played in the development of what is now an international movement.
Birkland Lane, Gateshead. Archaeological Assessment.
April 2011. (For BHP Develop).
This report constitutes a desk based cultural heritage assessment for the proposed development of an opencast coal mining scheme at Birkland Lane, west of Kibblesworth, near Gateshead. The assessment, undertaken by The Archaeological Practice Ltd at the request of BHP Develop, incorporates an audit of both discrete and more extensive historical landscape components and presents a synthesis of the overall chronology of the defined area. The assessment identifies cultural heritage constraints within the area of the proposed development and makes recommendations regarding the work required to mitigate the impact of the scheme.
The report collates evidence from a wide range of sources, including historic maps, secondary historical works, excavation reports and the Tyne and Wear Heritage Environment Record (HER). Site visits were also undertaken. This process has resulted in the identification of a total of 26 sites and monuments within and in the vicinity of proposed development, providing direct and contextual information regarding the archaeological and historical development of the site.
It is concluded that while there is no known evidence of prehistoric, Roman or medieval settlement or intensive land-use within the bounds of the assessment area, the position and topography of the site suggests that some level of activity during all periods can be assumed. Two likely late prehistoric settlements and earthworks associated with Hedley medieval township are recorded within 300m of the site boundaries. Evidence for post-medieval coal-mining is recorded in the form of mine shafts, and intensifying farming practices of the same period are evidenced by an early 19th century act of Enclosure , perhaps partly re-using an earlier field boundary. The industrial character of the area was further enhanced throughout the 20th century, with collieries at Ravensworth and Kibblesworth still in used until the late 1960s, served by the Bowes Railway which finally closed in 1974. Opencast mining and subsequent restoration which occurred on the site in the early 1950s considerably altered the earlier pattern of field divisions such that no pre-Enclosure and few pre-20th century boundaries still survive.
The only site of known cultural heritage significance known to survive within, bordering or in the immediate vicinity of the proposed development is an un-Scheduled section of the Bowes Railway, which forms the northern site boundary, and forms part of a line regarded as of high regional importance. While the potential of the site to contain unknown sites of prehistoric origin is regarded as moderate, and the likelihood that medieval or later settlement sites were present within the site is regarded as low, the likelihood that sub-surface remains of 18th-20th century mining practices exist within the site is very high.
The parts of the site previously opencasted retain no archaeological potential unless remains of earlier deep mining survive at depths greater than the limits of previous excavation. In the remainder of the site, surface activities related to the same episode of opencasting may have impacted upon any surviving remains and, more widely, the impact of deep ploughing since the mid-20th century is likely to have had a negative impact on any surviving archaeological remains sitting above, or cut into the sub-soil. It remains possible that features cut more deeply into the sub-soil in areas outside the previously open-casted areas will have survived, as well as the underground remains of deep mining.
The proposed development will remove any surviving archaeological remains in areas subject to deep excavations, and is likely to impact negatively on any remains in other areas used for site support and subsequently subject to landscaping. In addition, some negative impact is anticipated with regard to views to and from the Bowes Railway, which forms the northern boundary of the site, although this is mitigated by dense tree growth on the south side of the feature which largely shields the embankment from view.
It is recommended that further evaluation of the archaeological potential of the site should take place, but that such evaluation should be restricted to areas not previously subject to opencast mining operations. It is recommended that the evaluation process should include, in the first instance, geophysical prospection followed by archaeological trenching.
Newsham Burn, Blyth. Archaeological Watching Brief.
May 2011. (For the Environment Agency).
An archaeological watching brief was carried out on April 13th 2011 at South Newsham Football Ground during site investigation works carried out by AEG on behalf of The Environment Agency. Four test pits were monitored as part of the investigations which were undertaken as part of Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS) for the Newsham Burn which runs along the northern edge of the football ground. Five window samples were also excavated but did not require archaeological monitoring due to the method of investigation used.
The trial pit excavations revealed layers of made ground sitting upon natural grey-brown clay. The made ground probably relates to activities associated with a former colliery and modern landscaping.
It is concluded that the excavations had minimal impact upon the cultural heritage of the site.
Brierdene, Claremont Road, Whitley Bay. Archaeological Watching Brief and Survey. Aug 2011. (For the Friends of Brierdene).
An archaeological watching brief and topographical survey was carried out in June 2011 during groundworks for the installation of a footpath to a new viewing platform over Brierdene, Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.
The earthworks visible in Brierdene run both east-west and north-south, measure some 12 metres from rig to rig and are cut by various features, such as pathways and service trenches, the majority of which are likely to be relatively modern in origin. A wider area of rig & furrow than that disturbed by excavation, together with associated cuts, was surveyed by EDM in order to provide context to the area of new pathway construction, and a profile across the rig & furrow was measured on the line of the new pathway.
Following survey, a watching brief on excavation was carried out the aims of which were to determine whether archaeological features or deposits were present on the site, and to make an appropriate record of any such finds by photographic and other means. However, other than characterising the nature of rig & furrow across the site, as well as earthwork cuts across it in the form of probable pathways, no significant remains of archaeological significance were identified during the recording and monitoring exercise.
No further work is recommended in association with this scheme, which had minimal impact on surviving rig & furrow earthworks, but in view of the archaeologically sensitive nature of the locality it is suggested that any further work in the area should be assessed on its own merits with regard to archaeological intervention. It is also commented that rig & furrow is becoming increasingly rare in both the urbanised and intensively farmed parts of North Tyneside and merits further recording wherever it is likely to be further eroded.
Old School, Dalton, Northumberland. Archaeological Watching Brief.
May 2011. (For Brims Construction).
An archaeological watching brief was carried out in April 2011 on a plot of land to the rear of the Old School, Dalton, Northumberland, where a new car parking area was to be created from the south end of a grassed paddock. The work was requested by the Assistant County Archaeologist for Northumberland in order to mitigate the potential impact of groundworks upon potential archaeological remains, which are suggested by the known existence locally of banks and ditches associated with known medieval and post-medieval occupation.
The excavations carried out at the south end of the paddock area were carried out to a maximum depth of only some 0.30 metres, revealing a loam-based top-soil containing, in some places, some recent deposits of domestic ash and clinker. The very slight remains of an bank was encountered running east-west across the centre of the site, roughly in the position of a linear feature included on the county HER. However, the feature contained modern material and was not, therefore, considered to be an ancient feature, although remains possible that it lies on the course of a more ancient feature surviving at depths not penetrated by the current works.
No other features, deposits or artefacts of archaeological interest were encountered during the works and it was concluded, therefore, that the excavations had minimal impact upon the cultural heritage of the site.
The Edward Eccles Hall, Earsdon Renewable Energy Project. Heritage Statement. August 2011. (For Earsdon PCC).
A Heritage Statement has been prepared to support an application for the installation of a biomass boiler adjacent to the Edward Eccles Church Hal, Earsdon. The work has been requested by the local planning authority and complies with verbal advice supplied by the assistant county archaeologist. .
The project known as ‘Earsdon Renewable Energy’ is for a 100 KW biomass boiler to supply heat to the Edward Eccles Church Hall and the adjacent St. Alban’s Church which is 40 metres away. Heat would be supplied via a highly insulated underground pipe which would run under land behind the hall, across the lane leading to the cemetery (see photo below), through the churchyard and into St. Alban’s.
The production of a heritage statement for the above scheme was undertaken by examining the Tyne and Wear Historic Environment Record as well as documents referring to the cultural heritage status of the particular buildings most directly involved in the scheme, and historic maps of the site. Basic photographic recording was undertaken in July 2011 using colour digital photography, and the collated information, including photographs, was supplied to Peter Ryder, historic buildings consultant, for his comments.
The overground works have the potential to impact, either directly or indirectly on The Edward Eccles Hall (a Grade II listed building), St. Alban’s Church (a Grade II listed building), St. Alban’s churchyard wall, St. Alban’s churchyard gravestones and the Lane between The Edward Eccles Hall and St. Alban’s Church. The direct impact of the proposed development upon the churchyard wall, road, grave monuments and church of St Albans will be minimal, as will be its negative visual impact.
The impact of the proposed development on the Edward Eccles Hall will be indirect, being restricted to a negative visual impact on the rear of the structure. However, the attractive and unusual south elevation of the building will not be affected by the siting of the boiler house, and only a limited section of the rear, north-facing frontage will be obscured, specifically including two small windows, a small east-facing kitchen window, and a small south-facing corridor window, as well as wall masonry and butresses.
It is considered that the measures taken by the PCC in selecting a site and external appearance for the boiler structure effectively mitigate any negative visual impact, which it is not considered will be unreasonably significant.
Eppleton Quarry Extension, Sunderland. Archaeological Evaluation by Fieldwalking. February 2011. (For Hall Construction).
This document reports on an archaeological evaluation by fieldwalkilng undertaken by The Archaeological Practice Ltd at the request of BHP Develop for a proposed extension to Eppleton Quarry, Sunderland.
Archaeological evaluation by fieldwalking in early October 2010 following a programme of geophysical survey carried out in August 2010, the cumulative purpose of which was to investigate the archaeological potential of the site in accordance with a Brief supplied by the Tyne and Wear Archaeological Officer.
The broad conclusion drawn from the fieldwalking exercise is that the only significant finds made on the site are worked stone artifacts interpreted as of Mesolithic origin which are clustered on high ground in the north part of the site where geophysical survey had previously identified features of likely later prehistoric origin. The only find directly supporting later prehistoric occupation on the site, however, is a single sherd of likely prehistoric pottery.
In interpreting these results it is considered unlikely that the worked stone tools are associated with the physical remains of enclosures, which are likely to be later in origin, and appears likely, therefore, that the site has seen episodic use in the past.
The survival of archaeological remains within the site is such that any proposals for the development of the site should elicit an additional phase of archaeological evaluation, the scope and scale of which will be determined by the Tyne & Wear Archaeological Officer.
It is recommended that a series archaeological evaluation trenches should be excavated within the site, particularly but not exclusively targeting the areas where geophysical prospection has identified the sub-surface remains of features including enclosures, and where fieldwalking has recovered highest concentrations of worked stone artifacts.
Fossway, Byker. Archaeological Watching Brief.
August 2011. (For NEDL).
An archaeological watching brief was carried out during exploratory works by NEDL throughout July and August 2011 along the Fossway, Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne.
A total of twenty-five trial pits were excavated along the Fossway and Byker Hill roundabout, along with several service trenches. In one of the trenches (Area A between Brough Park and Tunstall Avenue) and in Trial Pit 2, several sandstone blocks were observed. These were interpreted as re-deposited stones which may once formed part of Hadrian’s Wall, although a later origin is also possible. Trial Pit 24 and the trench that subsequently ran through it also produced sandstone in lumps and natural outcrops, these were located to the north of the line of Hadrian’s Wall.
No further work is required with regard to this scheme.
Gateshead Quay Walls, Sterling House Site, South Shore Road. Historic buildings recording. August 2011. (For McAleer & Rushe Group).
In 2011 a photographic record was carried out of the river walls adjacent to the Sterling House site, South Shore Road, Gateshead. The work was undertaken in connection with a programme of development work on the adjacent empty plot east of The Baltic Arts Centre.
The photographic record was made at low tide when all of the wall structure above river-edge silt level was visible, although the lower part of the wall was partly obscured by seaweed. The walls are constructed of dressed sandstone blocks, but much of the upper parts of the walls were rendered, thereby obscuring structural details and indications of phasing, although some blocked pipes and an arched culvert were visible in the central section (see record photo 07). Some of the wall-top stones visible during visits to the development site were shaped to accommodate quayside features, such as winches and cranes; some remains of in situ ironwork were noted see record photos 13-16 ). No clear indications of the date of the construction or repair of the walls were identified, but the walls are believed to have been constructed from the early 19th century onwards, when industrial activity on the adjacent plot was predominantly associated with iron working.
No further recording work is recommended with regard to this section of riverside walls, but it is recommended that all features visible on the façade and at the wall-top should be retained during any conservation works. It is also recommended that photographs should be added to the existing record should the render and seaweed which presently obscure the stonework be removed.
Heaney Building, Ouseburn, Newcastle upon Tyne. Archaeological Evaluation.
January 2011. (For 1NG).
Archaeological evaluation by excavation was conducted on and outside the site of an industrial building on the east side of the lower Ouseburn Valley in December 2010 and January 2011 in order to investigate the archaeological potential of the site in accordance with a Brief supplied by the Tyne and Wear Archaeological Officer.
Four evaluation trenches were excavated, revealing various structural and depositional remains of broadly industrial character at depths between 0.3 and 2.5 metres below current ground levels.
Potentially the most significant remains found within the interior of the building footprint are the remains of an apparent horizontal flue running parallel with the Ouseburn, uncovered in Trench 1 at a depth of some 1.5 metres below modern reinforced concrete flooring. It is suggested that this may be related to features appearing at a similar depth in the east river walls immediately adjacent to the evaluation site and is probably associated with glass/bottle works or the preceding Ouseburn Bridge Pottery of 1815.
Also within the footprint of the Heaney Building extension, Trench 2 revealed a range of features, difficult to interpret but of broadly industrial character, at depths between 0.80 – 0.95 metres below the surface concrete. Trench 3, however, excavated closer to the riverside, did not reveal archaeological features other than a brick wall, interpreted as the buried south-west elevation of a wall present on the site by c.1827. The footings of this wall and any associated floors must lie below the 2.5 metres of rubble deposit excavated from this trench.
Outside the building footprint, the floor of Trench 4 revealed various linear structural features of industrial character, interpreted as flues, drains and internal partitions, also probably associated with Ouseburn pottery, glass or bottle works and probably demolished and leveled to produce the present building platform. These remains were uncovered at a depth of some 2.2 metres below the building platform bounding the north-east side of the trench, but extended into the riverside bank where, consequently, their depth below the surface was reduced.
Although the full extent and depth of archaeological remains within the site have not been fully ascertained, it is suggested on the basis of recorded archaeological survival and topographical context, that they are likely to cover most of the area between river edge and the eastern site boundary and may extend to or beyond the depth of the tidal limit in the area closest to the riverside.
It is recommended that any further groundworks taking place within the site which are liable to disturb the ground at or below a depth of 0.75 metres below pre-demolition ground level should be archaeologically monitored by means of a structured watching brief, the aim of which is to adequately record any features found to survive in advance of their destruction.
Further, the survival of archaeological remains within the site is such that any proposals for the redevelopment of the site following the current, demolition and landscaping phase, is likely to elicit an additional phase of archaeological recording, the scope and scale of which to be determined by the Tyne & Wear Archaeological Officer.
Heaney Building, Ouseburn. Archaeological Watching Brief.
April 2011. (For 1NG).
An archaeological watching brief was carried out in February and March 2011 on a plot of land formerly occupied by the Heaney car bodywork garage in the Ouseburn district of Newcastle upon Tyne during landscaping of the site. Previous evaluation excavations carried out on the site within and outside the recently-demolished former Heaney Car Body Repair Garage revealed the remains 19th and 20th century industrial structures.
Two main phases of monitoring work were carried out on the site. The first phase of works occurred along the west (riverside) side of the site between the south side (south-west corner) of the former Heaney Car Body Repair Garage building and the southern boundary wall of the site, where landscaping reduced the gradient of a steep bank leading from the quayside to the level of a former buildings platform above, and in so doing widening the corridor of flat land on the quayside edge. The only older structure of note revealed was a stone wall which appeared in the south-facing section of a wide cut made in the reduced earthen bank at the south end of the works area, interpreted as an earlier riverside revetment wall which became redundant when a new concrete revetment was constructed parallel with it to the east.
The position of riverside steps at the south-west corner of the site was previously known, but the steps themselves were previously obscured. Their clearance was accompanied by removal of vegetation from the associated north-facing southern boundary wall and removal of a brick wall built on the quayside along the northern edge of the steps. The southern boundary wall was revealed to be of predominantly stone construction with an opening, infilled with brickwork, just east of the top of the steps. The steps themselves were of sandstone, bounded by a (replacement) concrete wall on the north side and, on the south side, a wall of large ashlar blocks, themselves stepping incrementally outwards to form a battened wall to step-top level, with the previously mentioned regular sandstone (southern boundary) wall above it.
A further period of monitoring took place during foundation excavations for a new northern boundary wall between the former Heaney site and the adjacent Quay Timber yard, during which some modern brick walls and a concrete pad were revealed, none of which were considered to be features of high archaeological significance It is noted, however, that adjacent glass kiln remains in the west face of the Quay Timber riverside boundary wall were undisturbed by this process.
It is concluded, therefore, that the excavations had minimal impact upon the cultural heritage of the site and no recommendations are made with respect to the present scheme, other than that all features integral to the riverside quay and quayside walls should be retained and conserved.
The Cottage, Park View, Hetton. Archaeological Assessment.
Aug 2011. Ainsworth Spark Associates.
This report constitutes a desk-based cultural heritage assessment for the proposed re-development of a site on Park View, Hetton-le-Hole, Tyne and Wear. The assessment, undertaken by The Archaeological Practice Ltd at the request of Ainsworth Spark Associates, incorporates an audit of both discrete and more extensive historical landscape components and presents a synthesis of the overall chronology of the defined area. The assessment identifies cultural heritage constraints within the area of the proposed development and makes recommendations regarding further work required to mitigate the impact of the scheme.
The report collates evidence from a wide range of sources, including historic maps, secondary historical works, excavation reports and the Tyne and Wear Heritage Environment Record (HER). A site visit was also undertaken. This has resulted in the identification of a total of 17 sites and monuments of recognised cultural heritage interest or importance in the vicinity of the proposed development site; these provide contextual information regarding the archaeological and historical development of the area.
There is no evidence for land-use on the site prior to the post-medieval period, although finds from the wider vicinity attest to human activity from the earliest times and the village of Hetton-le-Hole probably has its origins during the Middle Ages. Historic map and documentary evidence shows that the southern part of the current assessment site has contained residential buildings since at least the early-mid 19th century and the boundaries of the site have remained largely intact since then. Only the southern part of the site ever appears to have been built upon along the street frontage, visible on the earliest plans. The northern three-quarters of the site appears to have remained undeveloped.
It is recommended that the potential of the site should be evaluated by excavation in order to determine the presence, nature, extent and survival of any sub-surface remains in parts of the site likely to be subject to invasive development.
It is not considered that the current buildings on the site merit further recording additional to the photographs taken during site visits associated with the current assessment exercise and presented in this report.
Hexham Racecourse, High Yarridge, Hexham. Archaeological Assessment.
North East Area of Cemetery, St. Michael and All Angels Church, Houghton Le Spring. Archaeological Watching Brief.
August 2011. (For St. Michaels PCC).
An archaeological watching brief was carried out in May 2011 during groundworks for the installation of a new water drainage system in the north-east part of the graveyard and between the graveyard and Kepier Hall, Houghton-le-Spring.
The current church probably dates to the 12th century or earlier, but it is likely that this church succeeded earlier structures and that the remains of such structures may survive underground. It is likely that the present churchyard has been used since the original construction of the earliest church on the site.
Four trenches were monitored during this watching brief. Trench 3 revealed a partial, disturbed burial while Trench 4 contained the remains of footings or a possible wall core found with modern pottery at a depth of 1.7m below ground level.
No significant archaeological remains were found during the watching brief at Houghton-le-Spring, and no further work is recommended in connection with this scheme. However, in view of the archaeologically sensitive nature of this locality, any further work in the vicinity of the church, Kepier Hall, old Rectory and tithe barn must be treated on its own merits with regard to prospective archaeological interventions.
Park Terrace and rear of Kensington Terrace, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Historic Building Recording.
November 2011. (For The University of Newcastle upon Tyne).
This report constitutes an historic building record of Park Terrace, Newcastle upon Tyne, undertaken by The Archaeological Practice Ltd. for Newcastle University in advance of the proposed demolition of the Terrace and its replacement with new student accommodation. This process of redevelopment will be accompanied by the adaptation and refurbishment of the adjoining Kensington Terrace for use as student flats, a process that will involve demolition of some rear extensions facing onto Devonshire Terrace. These buildings have also been included in the present photographic recording exercise. The present buildings recording exercise conforms to a Brief supplied by the Tyne and Wear Specialist Conservation Team and follows an archaeological desk-based assessment of the site conducted in 2010.
In addition to carrying out a photographic record of the buildings and providing current and historic ground plans, elevations and photographs, a written descriptive report has also been produced which notes that, apart from a modern building latterly occupied by the Students’ Union, which was built to match the adjacent terrace, the façade of the Victorian terrace remains virtually intact, although 20th century changes have cost it much of its ornamental ironwork and the upper parts of the chimneys; the more prosaic end and rear elevations have been more heavily altered. Internally the houses have suffered considerably due to remodelling; although a fair amount of decorative plasterwork, particularly cornices and two good ceiling roses, and around half the fireplaces are still in situ. Only one original stair, in no.2 Park Terrace, remains complete.
The report concludes that Park Terrace (including Park House at its east end) represent a high-status later Victorian terrace and town house, one of the better grand Victorian terraces in Newcastle upon Tyne. The loss of Park Terrace will enhance the rarity value of Kensington Terrace, of which the main block and some original rear extensions will survive redevelopment.
King Edward VI School, Morpeth, Northumberland.
Archaeological Watching Brief.
September 2011. (For GB Building Solutions Ltd).
An archaeological watching brief was carried out during the excavation of six trial pits to determine the make up of the land at the proposed athletics track site at King Edward VI School. The investigation revealed that the site contained a mixture of largely undisturbed natural beneath the topsoil of the sports field and previous agricultural field. Due to the possibility that archaeological remains might therefore survive on the site as features cut into the natural subsoil, a further watching brief was requested by the Assistant County Archaeologist, which involved monitoring the machine excavation of five 2m-wide strips distributed at 20m intervals and extending the full length of the site.
No archaeological features or finds were noted during the test pitting or removal of topsoil across the strips at the King Edward VI School playing field.
Kirknewton Flood Relief Scheme, Glendale, Northumberland.
October 2011. (For The Environment Agency).
A programme of archaeological works, including topographical survey and archaeological strip and record work, was requested by Northumberland Conservation prior to and during groundworks associated with the construction of a new flood defence embankment, which required the partial disturbance and replacement of a section of embankment originally constructed to carry the track-bed of the Alnwick to Cornhill Railway.
The construction involved excavation to approximately 0.5-1.0 meters below the existing ground level along the centre of the embankment to construct a clay key within it.
Prior to the construction phase of works, three transects or trenches were cut across the line of the surviving embankment in order to assess its composition and state of survival, identify the depth of built deposits and any surviving older features within or upon the sub-soil. Two such trenches were cut across the embankment where it survives well in the western past of the site of investigation; another in an open field immediately to the east of the well-preserved section, where the embankment has been levelled and survives progressively less well until disappearing as a raised earthwork west of Glen Cottage (The old railway crossing).
The embankment was found to be composed in all areas of a cinder track base upon redeposited sub-soil which formed the core of the embankment, the latter sitting on a buried top- or plough-soil above undisturbed natural glacial till. No other archaeological remains of significance were identified, although sub-soil was reached throughout the area examined.
During the subsequent watching brief on excavation works along the course of the embankment in order to insert the clay plug, the composition of the embankment was confirmed but no other features of significance encountered.
It is concluded that, other than the railway embankment itself, no significant archaeological remains were encountered or disturbed during the course of the works documented in this report. Furthermore, although the railway embankment itself was disturbed by the insertion of a clay plug along a section from east of the Old Station House to a point north-east of Glen Cottage, the overall profile of the monument where t survives reasonably well (i.e. its western portion as far east as the first open field) remains relatively unchanged by the works.
Cobalt Close, Lemmington, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Archaeological Watching Brief.
September 2011. (For Northern Gas Networks).
An archaeological watching brief was carried out following an emergency repair to a gas pipe located to the rear of Cobalt Close , Lemmington, Newcastle upon Tyne.
A small trench was on the thin strip of grassland between the B6528 and the garden fences of Cobalt Close.
The trench revealed a mix soil and clay beneath the topsoil which had all been disturbed by services.
No archaeological remains were noted.
Milbourne Hall, Ponteland, Northumberland. Historic Buildings Record.
January 2009. (For CSN Consulting).
A photographic record and associated background research was carried out in relation to the ground and first floors of Milbourne Hall, Northumberland, in October 2008. This was undertaken as a mitigation exercise in advance of largely superficial changes to surface finishes and fittings as part of a redevelopment exercise for residential use.
Milbourne Hall is a remarkable house of 1807-7, designed by John Paterson of Edinburgh for Ralph Bates; its chief peculiarity is in its plan, in which the overall T-form of the house itself masks the elaborate layout of central rotunda and rooms opening from it; attached to the base of the ‘T’ the ranges around the stable yard form an elongate octagon.
It is concluded that the interior spaces of the building have undergone little structural alteration since construction, but that many of the fittings and decorative features and surfaces are non-original and do not merit further recording or preservation in situ.
No further recording work is recommended with respect to the interior of the main hall.
Village Farm, Murton, Co. Durham. Archaeological Assessment.
Neptune Yard, Low Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne. Archaeological Evaluation Phase 2. October 2011. (For Shepherd Offshore).
This document reports on archaeological evaluation trenching conducted on an area of land at the former Neptune Yard, Staithes Street, Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne to inform a proposal by Sheppard Offshore Ltd. for the development of a Wind Power Blade Production Facility. The trenching was devised to determine the precise impact of the proposed scheme on the cultural heritage, which had previously been assessed by a desk-top study carried out by The Archaeological Practice Ltd.
In requesting archaeological evaluation of the site, the archaeological officer for Tyne & Wear noted the possibility that activity from the Roman, medieval and post-medieval periods is known to have occurred locally and that the remains of any such activities may survive below the modern ground surface.
The investigation of the site by archaeological trenching revealed successive deposits of modern, industrial character, overlying a puddled natural clay deposit. None of the features or deposits revealed in any of the four evaluation trenches is considered to represent archaeological remains of importance, although some of the features revealed suggest that some relatively modern remains of ship-building and related industries survive on higher parts of the site.
In particular, substantial brick and wooden-piled structures uncovered in Trench 4, possibly constructed as revetments of some kind, certainly relate to the recent history of the site as a shipworks and indicates that remains of industrial provenance may still lie buried within the site. Trench 4 also provided evidence for the presence of a clearly-natural laminated clay below overlying ‘puddled’ deposits of similar material, thereby lending weight to the suggestion that the latter have resulted from the puddling of natural clay deposits exposed by historic landscaping works on the sloping river-bank.
It is clear from all the excavations that the depth of overburden above the natural river-bank profile is very considerable, but no conclusions could be derived concerning the original profile of the riverbank and precise location of the waterfront.
The absence of evidence for any significant archaeological remains in this case may be attributed as much to the difficulties associated with evaluating the site as to the lack of potential for such evidence to be present. It was not possible, for example, to examine any of the lower part of the site where waterlogged remains might, if anywhere on the site, be expected to survive within the deeply buried, historic inter-tidal zone (although it is likely that all remains of historic ship-building have now been removed from there). The potential for archaeological remains to survive on the Neptune Yard site, therefore, remains, albeit much reduced by the likely truncation of original ground surfaces by later industrial workings and recent works.
It was recommended, following evaluation, that no further excavation for purposes of evaluation or mitigation should take place, but an intermittent watching brief should be maintained in order to record any remains that at revealed during groundworks associated with development, and in order to record evidence for the position of the original (pre-19th century) shoreline.
Central High Girl’s School, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Historic building record and heritage statement.
August 2011. (For GDST).
This report constitutes a heritage statement for the proposed re-development of Chapman House (also known as the Dobson Building), Newcastle Central High School, Sandyford Road, Newcastle upon Tyne. The research, undertaken by The Archaeological Practice Ltd at the request of the Girls’ Day School Trust, identifies cultural heritage constraints within the area of development and makes recommendations regarding further work required to mitigate the impact of the scheme.
The building was constructed in 1817 for Captain John Dutton, and is an early work of the celebrated Newcastle architect, John Dobson. Originally known as the Villa Realee, later occupants included Russell Blackbird, William Wright (flint glass manufacturer) and Robert Harrison (tanner). In 1883 the celebrated Doctor Gibb (1824-1916), the surgeon, changed the name of the house to Sandyford Park, and after his death in 1916 the property passed to the Poor Sisters of Nazareth, becoming Nazareth House, which it remained until 1996. It is now part of Central Newcastle High School and known as Chapman House.
On the basis of fieldwork and documentary research it is concluded that, other than the buildings presently occupying the site, there appear to be no grounds to consider the archaeological potential of the site to be higher than might be expected for any similar site close to the banks of the lower Tyne. The current buildings on the site include Dobson’s villa and its later extensions, together with various detached modern school buildings and outbuildings which are not considered to display particularly high architectural merit or historical significance.
The Dobson-period part of the 19th century structure is one of the best surviving examples of his use of the Greek Revival style and, despite many changes of use, the main block of Dobson’s original house remains surprisingly well-preserved, although a T-plan arrangement of service apartments which accompanied it was removed and rebuilt c1879.
The new work included two conservatories, the sunken one to the north of the entrance vestibule, and the semi-hexagonal one rather oddly tacked onto the western part of the garden front. The latter appears from historic photographs to have been an attractive structure in its own right, but stood in contrast to the intended character and proportions of Dobson’s original frontage.
It is recommended that all original features remaining in the Dobson-period part of the 19th century structure should be maintained and retained in situ, including windows and doors (and their surrounds), ornamented ceilings (including roses) and cornices, wall friezes (notably in the Billiard Room, where there is also an original foliate cast-iron bracket), the main stair balustrade and fireplaces. In the 1879 addition to the Dobson structure, there are less few features of note, but surviving cornices and fireplaces merit preservation here.
Externally it is recommended that no alterations or additions should be made. Notably, neither of the glass-roofed structures (conservatory/orangery) added to the house in or soon after 1879 merit rebuilding, since to do so would be to the detriment of the fine Dobson-designed façade.
Orchard Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. Archaeological Watching Brief.
October 2011. (For NEDL).
An archaeological watching brief was requested by the Tyne and Wear Archaeology Officer, acting on behalf of Newcastle City Council, the planning authority, to be carried out on Orchard Street, in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne. This is in order to monitor ground disturbing work associated with work on service installations.
The site is situated just outside the medieval town walls, indeed, an upstanding section of town wall lies along the eastern side of Orchard Street and is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, SAM 32752 (HER 1514).
No significant observations were made with regard to cultural heritage remains and it is concluded that no remains of cultural heritage importance were disturbed during the works.
No further archaeological work is recommended in connection with the present scheme.
Lower Ouseburn River Walls, Newcastle upon Tyne. Historic Building Recording.
January 2011. (For 1NG).
In December 2010 and January 2011 a photographic record was carried out of the river walls on both sides of the Ouseburn between the barrage at Glasshouse Bridge and Ouseburn Bridge to the north-west, including the section bordering Lower Steenburg’s Yard (the former Toffee Factory and cattle sanatorium site) on the west bank of the river. The work was undertaken in advance of repairs to sections of the walls and the construction of a riverside path along the east bank, bordering the former Heaney car body repair shop.
The photographic record, made at low tide following the temporary resumption of the natural tidal rhythm of the Ouseburn effected by the lowering of the modern barrage at its mouth, revealing the multi-phased walls exhibiting subsequent incursions and patching. No clear indications of the date of the construction or repair of the walls were identified, but the walls are believed to have been constructed form the early 19th century onwards. Much of the phasing and many of the features visible in the walls is probably closely related to the 19th and early 20th century uses of the adjacent land on both sides of the Ouseburn, particularly on the east bank adjacent to the former Heaney garage, formerly glassworks and a pottery, where features such as riverside steps, culverts and remains of mooring rings are visible.
Although detailed description of the river walls lies outside the scope of this report, the brief of which was to provide a photographic record, a more detailed description and interpretation of features visible could be constructed on the basis of the record presented.
Sawmill Cottage, Ravensworth. Historic Building Recording.
August 2011. (For Kingsway Design).
A limited programme of building recording has been carried out in advance of the proposed conversion of a redundant mill building for residential use at Sawmill Cottage, Ravensworth on the west flank of the Team Valley, Gateshead. The work is to be submitted as part of a planning application to Gateshead Council.
The photographic recording was undertaken during June 2011 using colour digital photography. In addition, a measured plan of the buildings has been produced and annotated to show historic phasing. In addition, an attempt was made to research the history of the building through locally available historic maps and records. Although little of direct relevance was found apart from historic Ordnance Survey plans, the following provide some contextual information.
It is concluded that this attractive building is very typical of a rural corn mill. Recent repair and re-roofing have maintained the form and general appearance of the building in its early to mid-19th century form. There is some evidence that an earlier structure is incorporated, apparently contemporary with the adjacent cottage which looks to be of mid-18th century date. Internally, as often with old mills most machinery and fittings have been stripped out but the surviving floor frame and the evidence of the posts supporting are of interest. It is suggested that detailed drawings of the internal elevations of the building would enhance the record following clearance of the internal area and surface stripping of the walls, prior to redevelopment.
South Farm, Throckley. Archaeological Watching Brief.
July 2011. (For Tarr Construction).
An archaeological watching brief was conducted in July 2011 during groundworks for the installation of utilities for the new residential development at South Farm, Throckley.
The work was requested by the Assistant County Archaeologist for Tyne & Wear in order to mitigate the potential impact of groundworks being carried out during the works on an 18th- century waggonway which formed the northern boundary of the site. The site also lies close to Throckley medieval village.
The excavation of one large trench (excavated in three parts, labelled A-C) and one smaller T-shaped trench were monitored as part of the watching brief. Apart from the remains of an early 20th-century extension noted in Trench 1c and those of a probable 19th-century farm yard surface in Trench 1b, no archaeological finds or features of significance were noted.
The excavations did not impinge upon the line of the former waggonway. Should any further work be planned in this area a further watching brief may be required.
Trinity Court, Corbridge. Archaeological Evaluation.
April 2011. (For Isos Developments).
Archaeological evaluation by excavation was conducted at Trinity Court, Roman Way, Corbridge, Northumberland in April 2011 in order to further investigate the archaeological potential of the site in accordance with a Brief supplied by the Northumberland Archaeological Officer.
Two evaluation trenches were excavated, one south of the existing building on the site, the other parallel with its east end.
In Trench 1, south of the existing building, a ceramic-rich deposit of Roman origin was revealed at a relatively shallow depth. The ceramic material was of a very diverse nature and appeared randomly deposited, but no structural remains of any kind were found within or below it to suggest its identification as anything other than a dump of waste outside the Roman fort and town. Despite the appearance of burnt deposits, there were no clear indications of cremation burials within or below this deposit. The high density of well-preserved Roman pottery sherds within this deposit enhances its importance.
The deposits and remains uncovered in Trench 2 suggest a relatively undisturbed agricultural soil structure, with a deep, well-developed top-soil upon a degraded plough-soil. The appearance of a straight-sided curving feature within the lower part of the plough-soil is enigmatic and potentially significant, although no evidence was found to support a secure interpretation.
The richness of the assemblage of Roman pottery found within an organic deposit in Trench 1 merits further recording by means of a watching brief should it be impacted by invasive development works. Any such monitoring of the removal of this deposit should aim to recover the entire Roman deposit for subsequent processing and allow sufficient time to record any features revealed within or below it.
Trinity Court, Corbridge. Archaeological Watching Brief.
March 2011. (For Isos Developments).
An archaeological watching brief was carried out on 14 December 2010, and 7 & 10 January 2011 on land surrounding Trinity Court, Corbridge, close to the recorded position of a medieval chapel and cemetery and in an area known from previous
sporadic and ad hoc discoveries to contain Roman burials associated with the nearby fort.
A watching brief on borehole excavations carried out as part of geotechnical investigations ahead of the redevelopment of Trinity Court, Roman Way, Corbridge, produced evidence for made ground to depths between 0.40 and 1.40 metres, giving way to boulder clays and gravels below those depths. The evidence appears to suggest that the surface deposit of modern made ground and topsoil is deepest on the south frontage and towards the east end of the current buildings.
The excavation in December 2010 of five boreholes as part of geotechnical investigations for the redevelopment of the site revealed no finds or features demonstrating the survival of archaeologically significant remains, or shedding significant light on the underground topography of the area. However, one of two further boreholes, excavated in January 2011 on the Trinity Terrace frontage, produced over 20 sherds of Roman pottery, along with burnt organic remains and some modern pottery.
Although it was not possible to determine with certainty that the Roman pottery finds were directly associated with the burnt material, as seems likely, it seems reasonable to postulate that the process of coring disturbed in situ Roman deposits, most likely to be those associated with a Roman cemetery which is known to have extended form the east side of the nearby Roman fort, or its vicus.
It is concluded, therefore, that while the majority of excavations associated with geotechnical investigation did not produce evidence for sub-surface archaeological remains, a single excavation and borehole on the south side of the current building,
sited several meters from the building in an area less likely to have been disturbed by its foundations, did disturb significant Roman deposits. Further, it is considered likely that further remains of Roman origin lie undisturbed in that area, and that others may occur to the north and east of the building, up to depths of c.1m, outside the area of disturbance caused when the present building foundations and associated service trenches were installed.
On the basis of the above findings it is recommended that further evaluation of the site by archaeological trenching should take place in areas more than 0.5m away from the current building foundations that are likely to be disturbed to depths over 0.40m.
Evaluation should focus on areas likely to have been least disturbed by the construction of foundations and services associated with the current Trinity Court building.
Trinity Court, Corbridge. Archaeological Watching Brief.
November 2011. (For Isos Developments).
Archaeological monitoring was conducted at Trinity Court, Roman Way, Corbridge, Northumberland during June and October 2011 in order to mitigate any damage to potential archaeological remains on the site in accordance with a Brief supplied by the Northumberland Archaeological Officer.
This scheme of work followed an earlier watching brief during geotechnical investigations, also reported here, and an archaeological evaluation in early 2011 which, as previously reported, identified a Roman midden deposit c.0.57m below current ground level on the south side of the site, containing a high density of late 1st to early 2nd century AD Roman pottery; a deposit likely to be linked with the fort rather than the later Roman town.
The monitoring of geotechnical test pit excavations on June 23rd 2011 revealed no archaeological remains of significance.
The subsequent monitoring of the grubbing out of building foundations in October 2011, carried out following the removal of the concrete base of the former care home building, also revealed no archaeological remains of significance.
It is concluded that no features, deposits or finds of archaeological significance were disturbed during the groundworks, but it is recommended, in view of the significance of deposits found during archaeological evaluation work on the site and in line with the Project Brief that, prior to and during any proposed construction work on the site, groundworks taking place at depths over 0.40m in areas not previously disturbed by foundations or services should be monitored as part of an archaeological watching brief.
Village Farm, Murton, Co. Durham. Archaeological Evaluation.
April 2011. (For Harworth Estates).
Archaeological evaluation by excavation was conducted at Village Farm, Murton, County Durham, during March 2011, in order to investigate the archaeological potential of the site in response to a brief supplied by the Durham Archaeological Officer.
Six evaluation trenches were excavated, two in the yard area between the village green and Village Farm farmbuildings, and a further four in the grassed paddock area to the north, revealing a variety of remains of medieval and modern origin.
Archaeological evaluation of the yard area revealed no features of archaeological significance in Trench 1, where the presence of a concrete base of agricultural or industrial origin sitting immediately below below modern surface deposits directly upon the natural sub-soil, suggested that any earlier remains may have been truncated. The adjoining Trench 2 also revealed evidence of disturbance by modern services.
In the paddock area to the north of the farm buildings Trench 3, closest to the presumed location of roadside medieval settlement, revealed shallow gulleys and/or depressions of unknown form cut into the sub-soil, within which were several sherds of medieval pottery. These features are interpreted as fencelines, drainage gulleys or similar features associated with the use of the site as the back-plot of a medieval street-frontage settlement. Above these features was a substantial deposit of modern (early-mid 20th century) industrial or domestic burnt waste material increasing in depth towards the east end where it appeared to sit directly on sub-soil, suggesting that it occupied and overspilled a deliberately excavated waste pit in that area. Trench 4 also revealed evidence for considerable disturbance of the ground surface, but as in Trench 3, below the plough soil was a shallow gulley containing a single sherd of medieval pottery. It has been interpreted similarly to those revealed in Trench 3.
No features of archaeological significance were revealed in Trenches 5 or 6, the surface and sub-surface deposits of which appear unmodified by intensive land-use. A possible N-S bank or ridge in the centre of the trench did not contain specific structural components, being made up entirely of the deposits common to the remainder of the trench, but may be the remains of a medieval or post medieval rig or boundary feature.
In general, it is concluded that the yard area south of the farm buildings exhibits low archaeological potential, since any remains formerly existing there appear to have been removed or heavily disturbed by subsequent episodes or industrial and/or agricultural activity. The paddock area north of the farm buildings offers higher archaeological potential, but the only medieval land-use activities evidenced there are of an agricultural rather than domestic or industrial nature. None of the remains recorded are of greater than local archaeological significance, but it remains possible that other remains of greater importance survive within the site.
In view of the findings summarised above, it is suggested that neither further evaluation nor extensive recording of the remains so far found to be present within the site is not warranted prior to development, but it is recommended that any intrusive development of the site, particularly in the south part of the northern paddock area, should be monitored in order to record any features revealed, whether of similar or different nature to those revealed during the current evaluation.
Renewable Energy Academy, Wallsend. Archaeological Watching Brief.
May 2011. (For Shepherd Offshore).
An archaeological watching brief was carried out throughout April 2011 during landscaping, drainage and groundworks carried out during the construction of a Renewable Energy Academy for Newcastle College (centred on Grid Reference NZ 293 663) on Hadrian Road, Wallsend. The work was requested by the Assistant County Archaeologist for Tyne & Wear in order to mitigate the potential impact of groundworks being carried out during the works on the site which lies close to Segedunum Roman Fort.
The concrete floor of the building was removed in patches and excavated to 1 metre in depth (1m base) to allow Precast Piles to be driven into place. These excavations were monitored together with further groundworks conducted outside the area of the new build for car parking areas and drainage works.
The excavations into solid concrete floors revealed mixed concrete and brick rubble sitting upon ashy, oily, gritty industrial waste, with dark grey-brown clay visible at depths between 0.70 and 0.95m. Whether the clay was natural is not certain; excavations elsewhere – on Carville Road and Neptune Yard, for example – have shown the natural clay in the area to be laminated, but frequently overlain by redeposited clay of similar colour, containing stones and coal waste, probably the result of coal-mining operations and landscaping. In this case, the scale of excavations was insufficient to determine the precise character of the clay exposed at the foot of some excavations.
No significant archaeological remains were revealed during the works monitored as an archaeological watching brief, and it is accordingly concluded that the excavations had minimal impact upon the cultural heritage of the site.
Weetwood Hall, Chatton, Northumberland. Archaeological Evaluation.
October 2011. (For Mr. D. Coulson).
Archaeological evaluation by excavation was conducted on land at Weetwood Hall, Chatton, Northumberland in October 2011 in order to investigate the archaeological potential of the site, ahead of the proposed construction of an earth shelter house, in accordance with a brief supplied by the Northumberland Archaeological Officer.
The site is considered to be of potential archaeological interest due to surviving earthworks in the area.
Documentary sources indicate that there has been a settlement at Weetwood since at least the 13th century and Weetwood Hall was originally constructed as a fortified tower house. Although lying some distance from the tower and later house which surrounds it, the site is considered to be of potential archaeological interest due to surviving earthworks in the area.
The excavation of two trenches on a proposed new-build site provided evidence for a deep build-up of secondary soils upon a natural sandy sub-soil. The only features recorded were two shallow cuts, one in each trench, neither of which were diagnostic of any particular human activity, nor did they contain any finds to suggest non-natural origins. It is concluded that while they could be the product of human action – perhaps as drainage ditches or furrows – there is no clear evidence for this and a natural origin is considered just as likely.
It is concluded that no damage to the cultural heritage of the proposed development site occurred during the evaluation process, and that there is no evidence for significant archaeological remains in the area which are likely to be impacted by the proposed works.
Although the absence of archaeological remains form the trenches excavated for evaluation purposes does not necessarily preclude the possibility that such remains may exist elsewhere within the site, there does not appear to be any sound basis for recommending any further archaeological intervention with respect to the proposed scheme.
West Road, Denton, Newcastle upon Tyne. Archaeological Evaluation.
August 2011. (For Clarke Telecom).
Archaeological evaluation by excavation was conducted on the pavement of West Road, near the A1 Western Bypass, Denton, in July 2011 in order to investigate the archaeological potential of the site in accordance with a brief supplied by the Tyne and Wear Archaeologist. The work was requested ahead of the construction of a telecommunications monopole at the site, which is on the line of Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO world heritage site.
The evaluation revealed deposits of a disturbed nature extending to the maximum depth of the trench at 1.55m, but no archaeological deposits or features were observed during the excavation.
It was concluded that Hadrian’s Wall and its associated features were not disturbed by the groundworks carried out as part of this evaluation and, although it is not out of the question that archaeological remains lie below the depth of the excavations reported here, the likelihood is that all archaeological remains were removed from the site during previous site works associated with road building and service trenching.
It is not considered that the level of disturbance to the site below the depth of excavations will be significant enough to merit further archaeological work within the site during installation of the telecommunications monopole.
Due to the negative results of this evaluation, therefore, no further work is recommended as part of this scheme, although any future works in the immediate vicinity should be considered on their own merits with respect to the need for archaeological intervention.
Land at West Hills Farm, Rothbury, Northumberland. Archaeological Watching Brief. October 2011. (For Mr. R. Mackay).
An archaeological watching brief was carried out during groundworks in preparation for the construction of a new agricultural shed on land bordering the south-west ramparts of Westhills Multivallate Hillfort (SAM 20880) at West Hills Farm, Rothbury.
The aims of the watching brief were to determine whether archaeological features or deposits were present on the site, and to make an appropriate record of any such finds by photographic and other means.
All groundworks within the area of the new build, which measured 30 metres east-west and 15 metres north-south, were excavated by machine and closely monitored by the attendant archaeologist. Due to ground level variations, the main area of ground reduction, to a maximum depth of 0.7 metres, was in the north-east corner of the new build site, with very little required across the entire southern half of the site.
Excavations in the southern part of the new build footprint did not reach the level of natural sub-soil, but encountered a mixed deposit suggesting the build-up of tipped deposits.
In the north part of the site, removal of a thin layer of topsoil revealed an apparently natural deposit of coarse yellow sand, with abundant stone inclusions, including some rounded boulders close to the surface. The remains of a likely stone ‘cundy’ of relatively modern origin, some 4m long and up to 0.25m wide, were found extending south-west from the north edge of the site at a depth of some 0.35m below the current ground surface.
No other features or finds were identified in the remainder of the area monitored.
It is concluded that no remains of archaeological significance were destroyed or disturbed during the groundworks described above, and that the works outlined had minimal impact upon the known cultural heritage of the area. Any further works in the vicinity of Westhills Farm and hillfort should, however, be treated on their own merits with regard to requirements for archaeological intervention.
Former Fire Station, West Road, Newcastle upon Tyne.
An archaeological watching brief was carried out during works to supply electricity to a new development on the site of the former fire station on the south side of Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne during late July 2011.