Booklet released!

The moment has finally arrived; the Booklet for Duddon Dig project has finally been released! Entitled High Life in the Uplands: The Duddon Dig Project the booklet presents the background and results from the three year project with the Duddon Valley Local History Group excavating the remains of the structures on the high fells near Seathwaite tarn in the Duddon Valley. The booklets charts the project from inception to publication and the impact the project has had, and includes some surprising dating results! Contact the DVLHG at for more information and availability!

Let them eat cake

Click on the link above.


Here somewhat belatedly is the 3d model of the famous end of excavation cake – So if you havent done so already – enjoy



let them eat cake
by Oxford Archaeology
on Sketchfab


Day 16 – The Final Day

Stephes Blog

I’m absolutely shattered but have got lots of time to get over today’s effort. Nobody wants to do the last day of back-breaking back-filling but it has to be done.

Keys were a recurring theme again today after Debbie’s troubles last night. I drove past the Newfield singing along to a CD and parked at the Parish Rooms. Before I could open up, I had to walk back down the road and find the keys and today’s milk at Gail’s before I could get the kettles up and running. Then there was the job of cleaning the cool bag where the spilt milk inside was really stinking sour.

We went up the track for one more time and got straight on with the jobs. Big stones first, not the very big stones that NT team had moved, then medium sized and then little ones to fill the trenches. Wheelbarrow runs were constructed from the piles to the hollows and by lunchtime we were on to soil and turf.

what a team

What a team

too hot to rush

To hot to rush

Where the heaps were well separated, the job was relatively straight forward. The big heap on the north side was an awful mix of everything and took a lot of digging out. You need to have worked a final dig day to realize how important it is to keep separate piles when you are only moving bucketfuls.

who is doing all the work

Who is doing all the work?

jeremy the turf dropper

Jeremy the turf dropper

Lunch was very peaceful. Several of us slept. Some of us only woke when the sounds of shovelling and barrowing became louder than the cool, quiet dreams.

looking down the slope

Looking down slope

looking up the slope

Looking up slope

I set a time limit of 14:00 to finish the labouring and start the tidying up and getting stuff down to the Parish rooms. The first load went down with Jeremy, Bob and Phillip while the rest of us took down the tents and moved all the remaining kit down to the track. While Jeremy drove back, my time team pulled up the posts and took off the signs as I trundled behind with the barrow collecting things up.

We met a group of young lads returning to the tarn in the hope of finding their cars keys And chuckled at their plight. We met a couple coming up the track who were following the time line. They had to get them all at one spot and read through the pile of boards like a short history book.

Jeremy went past around 1800 and, only then did I realize I had my car keys in my sack in the back of the 4X4 – lesson: never chuckle at other people’s misfortune. I had to jog down with the barrow load of posts to start a relay of “Wait!”s that reached the truck as the bottom gate was opened.

We decided to pub first and sort out later so off we all went to the pub. When I say all, it is a bit of an exaggeration as it was actually all of us except Lesley who was locked in the toilet and, fortunately, Linda who was still by her car to hear the shouting.

After chips and drinks, we brought in the pudding. Cake made by Jean and iced amazingly by Mur. There was much admiration and photographing and then a great idea from Jeremy. I hope you are up to this Debbie! We have taken a series of drone photos of the cake, that is without a drone which seemed a luxury on this scale, and are relying on your Agisoft skills to make us a 3D movie.

note the bracken rhyzomes

Note the bracken rhyzomes

Then as the volunteers left, the hard core sorted a load to go to Ken’s garage, a load to go to my garage and the first load to return to OAN. Debbie will be coming back tomorrow to collect the rest and will find her piece of cake sitting on the tent.

So the dig is sort of over but not quite. We’ll need another working party to finish the returfing. We will be waiting for the carbon dating and sample results. There will be two reports produced – a technical one and a “popular version”. There will be a presentation evening in Broughton once things are ready.

We need comments on the dig from everyone who has taken part to go in our report to the heritage Lottery Fund.

Finally, if you have any bright ideas about we can do next, email me at



A little note from Debbie

As i was not there to today, grafting with the rest of you, I just wanted to say thank you for all your hard work.  Without volunteers like yourselves and organisations like the Duddon Valley Local History Group, community digs that these would not be possible.  It has been an absolute pleasure working alongside you all in such a magical place.

Thank you Stephe for saving me a piece of that scrummy cake.  Challenge accepted for the 3D cake model!

I hope I see you all soon.



Day 15 – Let the Backfilling Commence

Well as the dig at Duddon nears its end the hard task of backfilling begins.  It was great to see so many volunteers today giving up their spare time to help put Long House Close back to bed. It is hard to believe that it was only 2 weeks ago we were de-turfing.  I do not think any of us could have guessed the scale of what we would uncover.

Everyone gathered round in this beautiful setting to hear Jeremy give his morning brief.  For me it was a little sad as this was my last day at Duddon (and no it’s not just to escape the last day of backfilling ;-).


Jeremy has everyone’s attention as he runs through what we know so far

Most of the volunteers today were  involved in the task of preparing site for backfilling and re-turfing. Everyone who has been involved in this on previous years will know that this is no easy task. Many of the outer excavated areas were being filled in with stones in preparation for the soil to be replaced and re-turfed.


Replacing stones ready for re-turfing


Stephen, Millie and Piers filling in the section in the eastern enclosure wall


Melanie looking far to happy in her work.  We must not have worked her hard enough

It was agreed that the latest phase, which gives the site its name Long House Close, would be put back in place for future generations to observe.  The original footprint was marked out and some of the larger stones were returned to form the areas of walls that had been removed.  Well done to all involved in this as it looked brilliant. Great example of how good team work achieves the goal.


Re-intruding the walls of Long House Close


Ken and Bob standing proudly by one of the walls


Backfilling well underway

Most took shelter from the beating sun during the breaks.  Although i do think some may have also had a well-earned snooze as well. Helen put a smile on everyone’s face when she produced the ginger cake she had brought for us all.


Quick cat nap in the shade


Thank you Helen, it was much appreciated

I have to say though not everyone was in-filling, there was still a couple of areas that needed a little attention.  This task was given to Amy, Tom, John and Josh.  Amy and Tom worked on finishing the area on the northern outer edge where the stone surface had been removed previously.  Once done this was recorded through photographs.


I hope you both enjoyed the day

Josh, attending his first ever archaeological dig, and John, who is an archaeologist, were set to work on one of the test pits in the cleared area near the tents.  It was not long before John found an iron object in the bottom.  Not bad for his only day on site.  When they had reached the natural the test pit was cleaned and then recorded.


Well spotted John


Great job Josh and Jon

John worked his way around site to see if he could uncover any last-minute finds before the soil was returned.


I think we are supposed to be putting the turf back on John not taking it off

Me, Jon an Jeremy did not get off easy either as we had to finish off all the recording.  I worked on a section that was placed in the curbed/revetment wall before finished off the final survey of the dig (assisted by the lovely Leslie who has been a great help over the last couple of days taking photographs of you all hard at work).  Jon was also recording before he assisted with the backfilling. Jeremy made a last-minute discovery in the second test pit, within the cleared area next to Josh and John.  In the bottom a dark deposit was visible which appears to be a possible feature.  Of course a picture had to be taken as evidence that Jeremy does still dig every now and then.


Jeremy hard at work

It was quite emotion taking the last shot of site after the days hard work before packing up and carrying the equipment no longer needed back to the vehicle.  It has been a fantastic and memorable few weeks, where I have had the pleasure of working alongside some of the most enthusiastic volunteers I have met.  This is what community archaeology is all about.  Bringing everyone together.


Well I truly hope I see you all again in the near future.


P. S. Keep an eye out for Adams update where he will fill you all in on details of both Long House Close and also Tongue House B.


Bob’s Blog

Day 15 of the dig was going to be another hot one. Fifteen diggers (including our metal detectorist John Nichols) gathered in the Seathwaite Parish Room in the now traditional manner and prepared for the rigours of the day. First task was to load up 2 x five litre bottles with drinking water to ensure there would be plenty of emergency supplies just in case dehydration became a real issue for any of our company. At the gate we signed up Stephen Grindrod. Our sixteenth volunteer had arrived direct there from Ambleside via the passes.  Today our digging team was joined by Amy Ratcliffe and Tom Ferrero from Barrow as well as John Trippier from Bolton. Together with Josh Murray they spent much of the working day being introduced to archaeological excavating activities.

For all the rest of the volunteers this was the day when excavating ceased and back-filling was the order of the day. Under the direction of the professionals Ken Day marked out the cross passage of the longhouse (or is it really a shieling?) and in-filling commenced. Large rocks first, small stones next and then soil. As Alan Bennett said – history is just one thing after another. And so it was for all the volunteers for the rest of the day. As our path smoothed the team was able to introduce more advanced   technology. The bucket chain was replaced by a wheelbarrow system of in-fill delivery which speeded the process no end. As the sun began to take its toll so the volunteers slowed in proportion to the unremitting  rise in temperature. There is not too much shade at Longhouse Close though the shady side of the Tardis toilet has become a place of refuge for some of the Herdwick sheep. The livestock have derived some benefit from the dig then!

There were 3 visitors to the dig including mother and son Christine and William from Millom. They had seen the dig at an earlier stage and this was an opportunity for William to take part. He succeeded in unearthing some quartz rock. He may have a future in geology as well as archaeology. Stephen Grindrod kindly rewarded our youngest visitor for all his efforts.

Because of the dangers of heat exhaustion the team finished at 3pm. For those able to stay on, light refreshment was taken at the Newfield Inn. The professionals were able to assure all present that the job was “half-way there”. Following the sterling recruitment efforts of Ken Day the Treasurer of the History Group was happy to receive the application of OAN archaeologist Debbie Lewis as a new member and her £10 annual subscription. The company observed that this brought a happy smile to the Treasurer’s face.


 With the goodwill and the labour of all the volunteers the back-filling should be completed on schedule despite the continuing “bad weather” forecast of unremitting summer sun. So far this has not been accompanied by a high humidity reading and fingers crossed this will remain the same on the final day.

Bob Bell

Day 13 – The End is Nigh

Debbie’s Blog

I never tire of the walk up to site in the morning.  Today again the sun was shining and the track welcomed us for another day of work.


Alan, Linda and Brian continued work in the two test pits opened yesterday on the southern side of site.  These were placed a short distance from the rough stone surface in an attempt to locate where the surface ceases.  Interestingly the test pit that Linda and Brian were working in contained a decent depth of soil rather than a stone surface.  It does seem apparent that the area the north of the tents may have been cleared of stone at some point which is where these test pits are located.  We are going to take a monolith (a column sample) from the west-facing section for further analysis by our specialist.


Alan just clearing the last areas within one of the southern test pits


This is the test pit that we will take a monolith from tomorrow.  As you can see it is much deeper than any other deposit that we have seen on site so far


Alan, Brian and Linda

Meanwhile within the area of the stone surface Len finished removing an area of stones to see if any other surface was visible below.  I did not manage to check in with him at the end of the day but it did not seem any other surface was apparent within the visible  section he created.  I must say Len well done on the section as it looked great!


The stones were removed to reveal the natural

Philip finished off cleaning the north-east outer surface ready for the drone flight later in the day.


I think you have missed a bit Philip

Stephe was kept busy today around the curbed/revetment wall at the lower western end of site.  Our aim here was to collect a sample from within this area in an attempt to obtain a C14 date. He managed to obtain four 10l sample tubs worth of a sealed context.  It would be great to be able to at least give a date to this area even if we can not give a definite purpose (I am still keeping my fingers crossed though that we can solve the mystery of the Bronze Age structure).


Jeremy was working in the two test pits that were opened on the northern side of Long House Close which again had been opened yesterday for the same purpose as the southern side.   It does appear that there is still stones within this area but as to there purpose it is not certain as of yet.


Jeremy looking happy in his work

I managed to sample and complete the feature that I was working on within the area where we had obtained the Iron Age dates last year.  The sample i took of the main deposit contained large chunks of charcoal so I am hopeful.  The curved area of stones on the surface after excavation did appear to be in-situ around the top of the possible pit.  Sadly I have not got a picture at present but will add one tomorrow.

After all the survey work was completed I did the final flight with the drone.  I have to say the site looks fantastic.  Thank you for all your hard work to get the site to where it is today and I hope I see many of you tomorrow to cover it all back in (isn’t archaeology a crazy game lol. We spend two weeks digging it to just fill it back in).

I do appologise if there are any spelling mistakes or errors as I wrote this after a lovely evening of beatiful food and wine at the Cove residence.  Thank you to you both for the invation.


Fantastic job everyone.  Who would have thought we could achieve this in two weeks!

See you all tomorrow for the back filling.


P.s thought I would add a sneaky a picture of Jeremy in today 😉


Bless him, he is all worn out

Stephes Blog

Before we even started this morning we got a good example of the quality of our volunteer team.

With everyone watching, a car backed into the gate at the Parish Room. Everyone leapt to help and the driver was more concerned about the gate than the vehicle. That seems to say everything to me.

Today was a clean-up and a last ditch attempt to get to the bottom of things. Sample box after sample box was filled for OAN to find the elusive evidence once it gets to Lancaster. Everything was carefully labelled and recording and surveying went on apace with barrows and volunteers constantly standing between Debbie and the staff held by Lesley.

sample boxes

The pile of many samples ready for taking back to OAN office


Get out of the way

Brian and Linda came to an arrangement for sharing their test pit, one squatting inside while the other lounged on the end and reached in in a typically decadent Roman pose.

good knees, bad knees

Good knees, bad knees

Len lifted out all his stones into a tidy pile that had to be moved before the drone was flown over. We only moved them a short distance from the trench edge as they will all have to come back again.

where not to stack your rocks

Where not to stack your rocks

Mary came up at lunchtime for a last bit of brushing up having spent the morning ready to drive south and leave the valley behind tomorrow.

brushing up skills

Brushing up skills

The children’s test pits have been back filled and re-turfed as an example of what we will all have to be doing over the weekend.

a lesson in finishing off copy

A lesson in finishing off

It may just look like a gap in the wall but look at all those stones waiting on the bank to be resettled for the next five hundred years.

a hole in the wall

A hole in the wall

Barbara has joined the list of walking wounded having a broken collar bone after the neighbour’s dog pulled just too hard on the lead. She joins a distinguished list of those with a cast iron excuse for the weekend.

If you have no excuse and time on your hands we’ll welcome anyone who can come along to finish off the dig for us.


Day 13 – Steady Away

Eleanor’s Blog

It was great to be back out on site at the Duddon Dig – my annual digging day. It is always a pleasure to spend time with the volunteers (Frances, Mike, Christina, Chris, Liz, Roger, Joyce, Faiqa, Ken, Len, Alan B, Craig and Alan W), who are such a lovely, friendly bunch.

Thursday's volunteers (Medium)

Group photo of all the volunteers and staff involved today

Despite the extreme heat there were a few volunteers (not naming any names, Ken, Mike, Roger and Alan B), who were eager to crack on and started mattocking 4 new test pits. Two were located on the northern side of the enclosure and two to the south. The idea was to see how far the ‘cobbled’ area extended and whether the arc of the putative ring cairn could be found. By the end of the day there were no obvious floors in the southern area, but a possible wall in the northern one? This will, I am sure be excavated more tomorrow.

new test pits to south (Medium)

 Test pits opened on the southern side

Faiqa found the only find of the day – another iron nail – in her trench and everyone else worked really hard in extreme conditions to excavate their allocated areas.



The day was improved when Frances handed around her lovely carrot cake – to celebrate Mike and Christina’s birthdays – thank you Frances, much earned energy to keep us going!

Frances made Birthday Cake (Medium)

I am afraid we had to call it a day early due to the heat, but we had to ‘persuade’ Joyce to finish as she was extremely keen to carry on.

Joyce didn't stop! (Medium)

There is just no stopping Joyce


Debbie’s Blog

Well I would just like to say it was lovely to see Eleanor from the Lake District National Park on site today.  I would also like to thank her for her blog and pictures.  Today for me was a busy day so I did not manage to wander around and chat to people (I sometimes forget I am working when I am at the Duddon Dig as I have so much fun).

Again the heat did takes it toll on us all but that did not stop everyone working hard.  I know I have said this before but I have to say Bravo to the amazing volunteers that have attended the dig this year.  Not only for their hard work and devotion but also for making this job so much fun. No matter what the weather you have all turned up with smiles on your faces and eager to help uncover the secrets of Long House Close.

I do not think there is much more I can add to Eleanor’s account of today’s events except to tell you a little about what kept me occupied.


Jeremy definitely had everyone’s attention during his talk this morning.  It seemed to motivate everyone, even in the heat, as all were eager to get started

As I mentioned yesterday I had began to look at a possible feature within the area where we obtained an Iron Age date last year.  Well I am pleased to say that it definitely appears to be a man-made feature. The profile in section and on the surface suggests a possible pit. Also there is a possibility of an area of curved stones that may have formed an oval feature around the possible pit (you can kind of see them in the picture in the area around the scale).  Of course these could just be random but hopefully I should know either way tomorrow.

IMG_3780The possible pit is located between the inner and outer wall on the northern side of Long House Close.  It does appear to cut through the Bronze Age surface that was uncovered last year. I have drawn the section that is visible within the photograph above and also an over head plan.  We generally draw sections at a scale of 1:10 and plans at 1:20.  The section gives us a view, in part, of the archaeological sequences through illustrating its profile and stratigraphy.  This is a very important step when it comes to the interpretation of the feature during post-excavation. We always need to produce an accurate and thorough record of any archaeological remains discovered as excavation often results in the destruction these contexts.

Will this area produce an Iron Age date (Medium)

A section line is put in place to record the elevation and stratigraphic sequence

After I have finished my recording tomorrow I will hopefully be able to fully excavate and obtain a sample from within the deposits of the possible pit.  Fingers crossed we have enough charcoal from these samples to obtain a C14 date.  As we all know though this site is full of surprises so who knows what date we may get.

Well I will leave you with of picture of everyone hard at work ;-D

Effect of the sun (Medium)

Taking a well-earned rest from the sun

Can not believe we only have one day of excavation left.  Have to say I am feeling a little sad.

Thank you Frances for the beautiful carrot cake.  I tink everyone appreciated your delicious offering.

See you all tomorrow bright and early.




Day 12 – Hot Hot Hot

Debbie’s Blog

Well I know we should not complain but wow, the heat today was something else.  Jeremy decided that we would all take regular breaks to get out of the heat if needed and re-hydrate.  The new tent was a god send and the volunteers that wanted some shade made good use of it. After the mornings debriefing from Jeremy all volunteers headed off to make a start on their designated areas.

It was lovely to see three new volunteers joining us today, Colin, Suzanne and Jeanette. Although they had not been involved in any archaeological project before they all set about their tasks with great enthusiasm.

Colin and Suzanne worked on the area of the rough stoned surface to see if they could locate and edge.  They cleaned back the area that was uncovered using trowels.  When it appeared the surface was still continuing they extended further and continued cleaning back.  Lets hope we can uncover that edge tomorrow.


Well done to both of you today

Suzanne set to work on the rough cobbled surface on the north-east side of Long House Close.  She was in safe hands as she was in this area with Lesley, Marlene and Catherine.  Lesley discovered some charcoal within the deposit that she was working on and proceeded to take a sample.  Marlene found the first Iron nail on this side of site which was fantastic.


Well it may be hot but it does not stop these girls from smiling.  Great progressed made here today


Marlene showing the iron nail found earlier in the day

Sadly there were no finds from the south-west side today but there is a possibility that we my be starting to see evidence of the edge of the rough stone surface.  Alan and Piers (sorry for spelling your name wrong last time Piers) were working on the outer area of this surface and they did seem to think they may have found an edge.  Fingers crossed.


Alan and Piers modelling the appropriate head wear for working in this weather


This extent of the possible Bronze Age structure may be within our grasp

Work also continued at the base of the possible revetment wall that is visible on the bottom of the slope.  Both Jennifer and Frances found charcoal within the deposits in this area.  Again samples were taken of both deposits in an attempt to obtain a C14 date


Jennifer took samples from the outer deposit at the base of the possible revetment wall


The samples Frances took were from the area between the possible revetment stones

Bob, who was also in charge of showing around any visitors today, continued in the area he had to worked on previous days which is located to the left of the passage way of Long House Close.  I am pleased to say it does appear that he has reached the natural within this area. The distinctive orange colour of the natural can be seen in the photo below.  Well Bob maybe Jeremy will finally free you from this area.


Bob exposing the natural

As the day went on it was decided to take down a section within one of the recorded areas of roughly stoned surfaces. Piers had finished cleaning the outer edge, so after stringing up a section line he proceeded to remove the stones.  The aim of this is to identify if any other surfaces are present within this area.


Carefully removing the stones within a designated area

As most of you will know we had also obtained a date from the Iron Age in one of the areas within Long House Close last year.  My task for the day was to clean back the area and investigate it further.  Me and Jeremy decided the best plan of action was to place a section through a possible feature that was visible on the surface.  Although I need to do more work here tomorrow it is definitely looking promising.  John did find an iron object using the metal detector within the deposit but at present we can not give a date to this.  Hopefully tomorrow might give us some more answers.


John scanning the newly excavated area


The iron object located within the deposit

So even though the heat was high today everyone still managed to achieve the days objectives.


The weary workers finishing for the day

I just thought I would add a picture taken from my drone flight yesterday as it gives you an idea of just how far we have come.  Cant believe we only have a few days left in magical place.


One of the shots taken with the drone

Had to add this cheeky shot I got of Debbie W as she was about to catch the drone!


Well caught Debs

See you tomorrow



Cheeky little finds update

Just thought I’d sneak in a cheeky extra-mini blog this morning with a few pictures of a couple of the interesting finds this year. We obviously still have to have these analysed by specialists, but here they are as they currently look on site! The first two are of the piece of rough handmade pottery, and the second two are of the piece of flint. Whilst I had my good camera on me I thought it was a nice opportunity to show you them in a bit more detail!



Day 11- We nailed it!

Adam’s Blog
Adam…. who is Adam? Exactly, I ask myself that frequently. I’ve worked for OA North for the last 16 years in the post-excavation and publications sphere of the company, but I am also part of the team that works on setting up blogs, social media, and the website, and today I had my final little trip up to the Duddon Dig to see how it has all been going!


The weather was baking hot, my car claimed over 30 degrees, and Jeremy and Debbie, who told me this was the first day the volunteers were still sat in the shade at the end of the lunch break, and not already up and heading back to the site, a clear sign it really must have been a bit warm!

Work progressed across much of the Longhouse close site today, despite the heat, with general cleaning back, and some work on extending the areas in the Northern and Southern edges of the site, which meant de-turfing, and clearing out the bracken rhyzomes and cobbles, which was tough going in the heat!


Clearing out the North-eastern end of the site

The guys at the southern end seem to have found the edge of the flattened off area of the platform, which the large curved stones seem to form part of, as here the ground noticeably dropped away and was less stony. Hopefully more work tomorrow will confirm if this is the case!


Have we really got an edge?

Jon, Liz, and Roger were continuing to clear out and clean back the central area, including some fairly stubborn tumble in between the larger boulders; not easy work in this temperature!


Jon getting serious with the mattock in the central area

On the North and North-Eastern edges of the Longhouse close trench Faiqa and Imogen, made todays major ‘find’, which thankfully gave me the almost obligatory pun title; a small fragment of iron, possibly a nail.


Faiqa and Imogen working clearing

To finish the day off Debbie flew the site with the drone, which meant the volunteers got a slightly earlier finish to clear the place of bodies!


The Debbies photographing the site with the drone

My primary purpose for the visit was to meet some of the volunteers, and get some ideas of who they were, and what made them get involved, and get some stories off them, that I hope to share on the blog fairly soon.

One thing that strikes me every time I visit a community excavation is how many great stories the volunteers have, why they got involved, how they got involved, where they are from, their experience, and what made them take the leap. Many of these obviously relate in some way to an interest in archaeology and history, but what they take away is often much greater than that; friendships, new skills, new knowledge and understanding, and a sense of being part of something. Look out for a blog after the dig is finished where Stephe and I hope to bring out some of these stories!

Good luck to everyone for the last few days of the dig,


Stephe’s Blog

Today I was Jamie Lund again but without the neck brace. I hope you are recovering Jamie.

I don’t need to mention the weather. (I mentioned the weather… sorry Stephe! Adam)

Following Jeremy’s athletic and almost balletic performance in describing the site with much leaping about and pointing with a two metre stripy stick, we were already exhausted but we all plodded on as best we could.

I’d rather not mention the deturfing and opening access to more cobbles because it was too hot to be doing that sort of thing. However, as long as Lesley was wielding the mattock we had to keep up!

When we were doing the core sampling with Mairead in 2016, we didn’t get down more than a couple of inches anywhere for miles around the site. Now I know why. You’ve all seen meteorite showers and I’m beginning to think that at some time in the Bronze Age, there was a cobble shower that passed up the Duddon Valley and covered all the surfaces.

Adam came up to do some filming and interviewing and he was delighted to be promised a cow femur that I have had in the garage for years to make half a pair of Viking ice skates. He’d like to hear from anyone who can offer him another. And Faiqa did manage to find a nail so the day wasn’t wasted.

We were sent home early so that the drone shots didn’t pick out the limp bodies scattered over the site amongst the trowels and buckets.

Now you might think the professional team go back to their little house and write-up the day’s activities, but that wasn’t the case tonight as they were last seen heading off to the Gorge for a swim in one of the pools.

And, as for the day leader going home for tea and a long bath, that wasn’t to be either. I had to follow up a report about ancient trees, last seen thirty years ago, that have reappeared half a mile off the shore at Haverigg point in all this hot weather and low tides. When I eventually found the site, 40m x 20m, it was an amazing collection of stumps and trunks trapped in a strange clay layer.



What a day!


Day 10 – What a Day!


Debbie’s Blog

Well after a weekend off I was welcomed back to site by beautiful sunshine.  I just knew this was going to be a great day.  I think everyone on site must have felt the same as work commenced very promptly as everyone was allocated their areas for the day.  It is so hard to believe how different the site looks in only 10 days.


Everyone busy on site with the sun shining down

Again I was in for a busy day as we had two school visits today organised by Stephe.  I love the energy the children bring to site along with their curiosity and questions.  Again they worked in groups which participated in several activities including a site tour, planning, landscape drawing and excavation.

Although I was supervising the test pits today I did manage to have a wander around site and see what everyone was up to.  On the eastern side of Long House Close, Debbie W, Bob and Mary were working hard to clean an area of a possible surface.  It appears that this area, just outside the main wall, is formed of uneven irregular stones.  A lot of hard work has gone into these outer areas and hopefully we will manage to gain some answers from them soon.


Debbie W. looking very please with the hard work she has done on cleaning the stone surface


I always seem to manage to get a picture of Bob smiling.  He was also working on the same area and surface as Debbie W

Debbie W, Bob and Mary’s hard work was rewarded when Mary discovered a piece of flint.  This was an important find as flint does not naturally occur on this site suggesting it had been brought here through human intervention.  I personally love flint so for me this has been one of my favourite finds so far.  Well spotted Mary.


Amazing find Mary.  This was the only fragment that turned up within this area today so very hard to say at present why it was there

Bob, Dave and Debbie were working on the northern corner of Long House Close.  Bob and Dave focused on de-turfing and cleaning the area between the sheep fold and the outer wall whilst Debbie worked at the bottom of the slope.  This area was not giving up its secrets today but we will it give up on it yet.



Bob, Dave and Debbie.  Still a bit more work to do in this area but great progress was made today

Allison continued previous work that had been done at the bottom of the northern slope.  I have to say that when standing down at this end you can see a possible platform where Long House Close is.


Allison cleaning around the large boulders at the northern base of the slope

It was lovely to have a visit today from Gill Hey, the CEO of Oxford Archaeology.  Gill worked on the area on the north-west corner of site.  This is the area where a possible curve is visible formed by large stones and boulders.  It did not take her long to get back into the swing of things and it looks like she enjoyed the day.


Gill making easy work of de-turfing

Brian and Alistair were finishing cleaning the area opened to the west of the passage way.  Nothing at present seems to be visible within the area as it appears to be on the outer edge of whatever earlier feature is present.  But as we are discovering this does not mean we can dismiss this just yet.


Well done chaps.  Keep up the good work

Well I am going to finish today’s blog with a picture of the fantastic find found within the rich charcoal deposit that was just to the south of last years sondage on the western side of Long House Close outer wall.  Jon managed to find a lovely piece of possible Bronze Age pottery.  As I mentioned in my earlier blog we did manage to find a small piece in the samples last year but this definitely beats that.  Pottery is an invaluable source of dating evidence when it is located within a sealed context.  This area has also been sampled so hopefully that will come back with some good dates.


Lovely piece of possible Bronze Age pottery

Well tomorrow is looking like another sunny day so get the sun cream and water packed and I will see you in the morning for another day in paradise.



Stephe’s Blog

Today was the last of the school visits. 118 children and 16 teachers/helpers have been up this year which makes over 350 during the three year project.

duddon02Stephe taking a group of children on a site tour

This morning was certainly the hottest walk up of all the groups but we shouldn’t complain considering previous cold and wet trips. The kids were barely able to manage a dawdle but once they got to the portaloo and realised they were getting close, things got marginally faster. It is an interesting reflection on the age group that three out of the five school groups translated the green structure into a Tardis time machine run by Doctor Poo!

duddon03The children working hard on the excavation of the test pits opened for them

Doing the rounds with eight groups without dozing off was quite a challenge in the heat. I felt particularly sorry for Bob who had to demonstrate the mattock over and over again. For the final group, he had left the trench and was over by the tent tidying up when he saw the children coming. There was almost a reflex action as he looked for his mattock!

It was good to have some finds to show the groups. Mary’s flint was much admired while the bronze age pottery was greeted with universal disgust by a generation that are used to shiny glaze.

And, on top of the archaeology we had the art in sketching the valley and the diggers… For natural history we had lizard over by the round pen, the sundews, bog asphodel, cotton grass and some orchids as well… And the history on the time line… And the geography of the highest land in England all… And all that exercise for PE with not a mention of the World Cup…

So, all in all, a well-rounded educational day. I hope they don’t have to write it up tomorrow in school.



Tongue House B

You may have thought that everything was finished with the Tongue House B site, well in terms of fieldwork it is but the process of recording and analysis carries on behind the scenes and we can now reveal the 3d Model created at the end of the excavation. It is just a low resolution model in the blog but the full files are spectacular in their detail. Well done to Debbie for the flying.

tbc 6-2018 top xy

The processed model of the Tongue House B excavations