On 11th June members of the Lowick Heritage Group Archaeology section began a dig at Hunting Hall Farm. Two trenches were opened at locations that had been chosen to investigate the many interesting subterranean features shown by last year’s geophysical survey. We were already very confident that the site had Iron Age origins because of the obvious semi circular ring ditches but it didn’t us take long to discover that the site is much older.
What has been particularly rewarding is the number of volunteers each day. Although professionally led by Kristian Pedersen, the rest of us have very little experience of practical archaeology. That doesn’t stop us finding artefacts and it’s quite exciting to be the first one to reveal a man made object that hasn’t been seen for thousands of years. There have been many. The oldest object found so far is a flint tool that has been identified as used sometime around the end of the Neolithic Period to the beginning of the Bronze Age. That makes it around 4,500 years old! Other complex underground stone features have revealed that the site was probably occupied by Bronze Age communities prior to the Iron Age people who were around at the time of the Romans. Whether that was continuous or intermittent occupation over a period of more than two thousand years remains to be seen.
Originally intended to be a two week dig, the site is revealing so much potentially important information about prehistoric farming in North Northumberland that we intend to extend until early July. Volunteers and visitors to the site will be made very welcome.