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News

Coastal Alum Works Project 2017 – Stoupe Brow

Following our programme of works in 2014, Archaeological Research Services Ltd have returned to the North York Moors National Park to carry out trenching at Stoupe Brow. This was one of the alum working sites we previously examined, along with those at Boulby, Saltwick Nab, Sandsend and Kettleness. The study aims to establish the condition of preservation of the alum works at Stoupe Brow which are classified as ‘Heritage at Risk’ due to coastal erosion. This work is supported by Historic England and commissioned by the North York Moors National Park Authority as part of their Monument Management Scheme.

The Stoupe Brow Alum Works was operational between 1752 and 1828, and is one of the most complete and best-preserved examples of an alum working site in the country. To assess the preservation and character of the archaeology at the site, Archaeological Research Services Ltd are excavating four trenches across the alum works. Our team have opened the first two trenches where the alum works is at most risk of eroding into the sea targeted to characterise the surviving archaeology over the site of the former yard surface. We are in the process of de-turfing a third trench over a circular feature nearby in order to establish what function it might have held.

We have found structural elements which are potentially walls and drains, in addition to yard surfaces in the first two trenches. Across the site our finds have consisted of clay pipe stems, pantile, metalwork from the iron fittings and fixtures, and late 18th and early 19th century pottery. So far our stand-out find has been a commemorative medallion for the coronation of Edward VII. Though it post-dates the working life of the site, it is nonetheless an unusual and interesting find. 

 

 

 

ARS Ltd wins award for the Best Heritage Services Provider for Sustainable Development 2017

 

 

ARS Ltd have won the UK Business Award for the Best Heritage Services Provider for Sustainable Development 2017. Well done to all at ARS Ltd for their hard work and contributions to community work, interpretation, publishing and partnership projects that deserve such recognition.

 

 

 

ARS still recruiting for site assistants

We are still recruiting for a variety of positions across various locations. For more information please see our Employment page.

Cresswell Pele Tower excavations were a great success

The 2-week long excavations carried out around Cresswell Pele Tower, Northumberland, at the beginning of February were a great success. One of the evaluation trenches that was excavated in Fisheries Field to the east of the tower unearthed two, early Bronze Age stone-built burial cist boxes. Unfotunately no human remains had survived due to the acidity of the soil however this is a very exciting find.

 

Trenches around the tower itself revealed evidence of the 18th century mansion house that was known to have been added on to the tower but that was demolished around 100 years later. Evidence of an earlier, previously unknown about building were also found as well as a small, stone-filled pit that produced chipped flint artefacts. A much larger, stone-filled pit was also revealed, the purpose of which remains unknown.

 

 

 

Cresswell Pele Tower Community Archaeology Project well underway

The Cresswell Pele Tower Community Archaeology Project is well underway with both geophysics surveys and fieldwalking exercises having already been completed. The fieldwork will be taking place in mid-February.

Cresswell Tower, a 15th century pele tower, is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, a Grade II* Listed Building and it is also on Historic England's 'Heritage at Risk' Register. Pele towers are peculiar to Northumberland, Cumbria and the Scottish Borders and are miniature castles built in response to raids by the Border Reivers. Cresswell Pele Tower is a relatively well preserved but roofless structure, probably built in the 15th century, and is the only surviving structure of the Medieval seat of the Cresswell family. In the mid 18th century it became part of a mansion house. This house itself was demolished in the 19th century and by the late 1960s the tower was derelict.

The tower has been the focal point of the village for over 500 years, but it is inaccessible in its current state. The wish of the local community is for the tower to be restored and made accessible so that it can become a valued and appreciated heritage asset for current and future generations. In 2014 Cresswell Parish Council was awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund Start Up Grant to carry out preliminary work on the tower. This work inspired the council to seek funding to fully restore, interpret and open the tower while using the opportunity to broaden community involvement, including local schools, through a community archaeology and archive project.

Please check the ARS Ltd website News section for regular updates as to how the project is progressing.

 

 

 

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