Putting the prehistory of the North Pennines on the map: discoveries made during English Heritage’s ‘Miner - Farmer Landscapes’ project’ (Inaugural Joint Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society/Prehistoric Society lecture) 7.15pm
Dr Alastair Oswald, University of York
The Carlisle Regional Affiliated Group is hosting a joint meeting with The Prehistoric Society on Friday November 22nd at 19:15pm at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle. Alastair Oswald from the University of York will be speaking on 'Putting the Prehistory of the North Pennines on the Map’ discoveries made during English Heritage’s ‘Miner - Farmer Landscapes’ project.
The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, England's largest, is internationally recognized for its geology and ecology. Until recently, however, its historic landscape had seen negligible research, apart from the recording of individual components of post-medieval lead mines. Ordnance Survey fieldworkers from the 19th century onwards overlooked most earthwork evidence for early land-use. Consequently, the region has often been caricatured as an 'uninhabited wilderness' in prehistory. One of the few early sites recognized in the region - the exceptionally well-preserved Roman fort known as Whitley Castle (probably originally Epiacum) – appeared isolated, connected to the outside world only by the lonely Maiden Way.
English Heritage's 'Miner - Farmer landscapes' project was designed to understand the totality of the historic landscape, but framed within an investigation of how the region's twin industries - mining and farming - have shaped the landscape, including its ecology and architecture. The research encompassed 50 square kilometres around Alston, the epicentre of the medieval and later lead industry, and comprised several different strands. This talk will concentrate on the results of a programme of field survey. It can now be seen that the Roman fort was not isolated, but sited within a landscape studded with dozens of ‘native’ farmsteads and villages, and their associated fields and trackways.
Inaugural Joint Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society / Prehistoric Society lecture