Rescued from the Sea’ is a Heritage Lottery-funded project which aims to excavate and rescue what is left of the Bronze Age cemetery site, and underlying Neolithic and Mesolithic deposits before they are eroded into the sea. The erosion problem is only worsening and, if left untouched, the entire site will be lost to the sea within a few years. Enlisting the help of volunteers, local school children, university students and a number of experts and specialists, Archaeological Research Services Ltd, the Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Northumberland County Council ran a 13 week excavation from June to September 2013 to rescue and record as much as possible from the site prior to further erosion. The response from the local community was overwhelming and hundreds of people took part in the excavations.
Aside from its vulnerability, the site is important as it has the potential to shed light on Mesolithic settlement and Early Bronze Age burial practices in the coastal area of Northumberland. The excellent preservation of the archaeological remains and their direct link with environmental deposits that reveal what the landscape and vegetation were like in the past make the site a rare and valuable time capsule. They will offer many new insights into the prehistory of the region as well as Britain more generally once the analyses are completed.
Erosion and sea level change are not only major threats to coastal archaeology but also to the various forms of wildlife that inhabit the coastline. If you would like to know more about the investigations visit the Project’s website.
Copies of our Popular Book, ‘Rescued from the Sea: An Archaeologist’s Tale’ (£10) and of our monograph ‘Archaeology and Environment on the North Sea Littoral’ (£30) can be purchased directly from ARS Ltd, or from Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre. Instructions on how to order from ARS Ltd can be found here.