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Across the generations – exploring the past with geo-phys.

Paul Langdale, of the Lowick Heritage Group, outlines an exciting year of discovery, down at Hunting Hall.

The Archaeology section of Lowick Heritage Group have had an exciting summer. In July 2017 the archaeology group, which is comprised of mainly local people with little or no previous archaeology experience, under the professional guidance of Kristian Pedersen from Edinburgh University, opened two trenches at Hunting Hall Farm.

Semi circular ditch and embankment earthworks in one of the fields suggest the land may have been occupied during the Iron Age, that is, from around 600BC. Discoveries and observations
made by the group during the digs, together with other superficial surface features on the field suggested that further investigations would be of value. A geophysical survey that uses magnetic impulses to ‘look’ beneath the surface was chosen as the best option to find hidden evidence of historic activity and structures on the field.

In 2018 and thanks to a generous grant from the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty we were able to engage the Bernician Studies Group, themselves a charity, to train a few of our members in how to use the very expensive equipment. Once trained we made very good use of the warm days of July and August this year to carry out an extensive survey of the field.

We were also able to demonstrate the equipment to a small group of children who were interested in archaeology.

The Bronze Age Axe Head, found during the exploration of the Hunting Hall Site

The results of the survey have been astonishing. Once the data from the equipment had been processed using a computer it revealed the presence of a range of regular shapes, mainly lines and circles, hidden beneath the surface.

These images suggest man made structures and have caused a number of independent professional archaeologists to express their different interpretations. A common feature of all these views is that we have found something of importance. The features may indicate activity that predates the Iron Age, equally other structures may be later and linked to the Anglo Saxon farm of ‘Lowyk’, the ‘Farm on the Low’ and the predecessor of our current village.

Plans are now afoot to dig more trenches next year that we hope will reveal much more information.
The Archaeology Group is always looking to welcome new members. If you would like to join us or would just like more information then please get in touch via email, at paullangdale@btinternet.com.

To explore the story of the group’s activities this year, click the link to this PDF – Hunting Hall Geophysics Pictorial Summary 10 October.

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