Friday, March 22, 2019

Digging up Pendle Hill's Past

The community archaeology project in the Pendle Hill LP is now well underway with plenty of people involved and lots of ideas suggested about what we could do in the upcoming years. This work is being led by Northern Archaeological Associates’ ( Community and Outreach Officer, Rebecca Cadbury-Simmons, who is working as our Community Archaeology Co-ordinator.

Part of the project is a series of training workshops for local volunteers to take part in and learn key archaeological skills and techniques. Five workshops have been run this year, focusing on finds identification, geophysical survey, archiving and desk-based research, LiDAR interpretation, and how to plan and run a community archaeology project.
Volunteers have been able to try their hand at identifying different types of 'finds' that are commonly found in archaeological excavations, and also at reconstructing broken pots from fragments of pottery.

They have also used geophysical survey equipment to investigate how different features would show up in the results. During the LiDAR and desk-based research workshops they were shown what resources are available to them for free, both locally and online, that can aid their investigations of local archaeology.

Finally, the volunteers brought their ideas for possible community archaeology projects together and learned how they might be able to turn those into real projects and what steps they would need to go through to complete this.

The attendance at all these workshops was excellent and volunteers brought along their own ideas and suggestions of what work could be undertaken within the Landscape Partnership area. We are hoping that these training workshops will equip people with the skills and knowledge to start planning their own small-scale archaeological research projects.

By giving local individuals and groups the skills to run these projects themselves, we are optimistic that the legacy of community archaeology within Pendle Hill will continue and expand beyond the life of the Landscape Partnership. 

In addition to the training workshops, we also ran two open days during the excavations at Malkin Tower Farm, by UCLan in summer 2018. During one of these days, volunteers were given the opportunity to have a go at archaeological excavation. Students taught the attendees what they had learned about excavating and recording, as well as being able to show off what they had found so far. The second open day saw groups of interested locals being given tours of the site at the end of the excavation. This allowed people to see the progress that had been made before it was all covered over again. 

This is just the start though; there is lots more community archaeology to come within the Landscape Partnership.

On Tuesday the 23rd April 2019, we will be holding an Archaeology Forum that will feature talks and displays about all the archaeological work currently being undertaken in the area, as well as information about how you can get involved. This will be held at Clitheroe Castle Museum and is free for everyone to attend. We will also be running more training sessions in the upcoming year, featuring topics such as archaeological landscape survey and how to use software called QGIS (a very important tool in recording and reporting on archaeology). If you would like to find out more about these events, or for information on how you can get involved, please email Jayne Ashe (

We are really looking forward to the coming year of community archaeology within Pendle Hill and we can’t wait to hear what other ideas the volunteers have come up with! 

See more about the Malkin Tower on our short film here