Celebrating Community Archaeology in the South Pennines

A weekend of events in celebration of the fantastic heritage of the South Pennines was held at the University of Bradford in March 2013 as part of National Science and Engineering Week.

The conference on the Saturday was attended by over 90 people. The speakers covered a diverse range of community archaeology projects from those in the South Pennines managed to those focused on industrial heritage in the East Peak and excavations in the North Pennines; all highlighting the passion and commitment of community archaeology volunteers. Dr Carenza Lewis, of Access Cambridge Archaeology and formerly a Time Team presenter, gave the keynote address. She is a keen advocate of bringing communities, researchers and potential university students together through community excavations in Eastern England: ‘Getting people involved in community digs is a fantastic way of bring people together, building bridges between the different generations and strengthening communities.’

On the Sunday, everyone from toddlers to grandparents became time detectives for the day. Over 100 people attended the event, many of whom stayed for most of the day. Among the many activities, people unravelled clues to a crime scene, tried their hand at an archaeological excavation, learnt about Vikings with Time Zones, and discovered aspects of local geology with West Yorkshire Geology Trust, as well as finding out about societies and projects in their local area. A gallery of archaeology-inspired art proved a great hit, with local artist David Starley painting live, and flintknapper Karl Lee made a replica of a Bronze Age flint dagger during the day. The dagger was found at Gorple reservoir by Brian Howcroft, member of the South Pennine Archaeology Network.

Everyone had a great time, with lots of activities for the young and young at heart. Parents commented that it had been great fun for the children and the grown-ups too!

‘Thanks – that was a fantastic day – really diverse activities, the kids had great fun!’

‘Very enjoyable and brilliant day out for the kids.’