Sheltering memory and cowboys in the forest of Bowland

Since 2011 the University of Central Lancashire archaeology team have been undertaking fieldwork in the beautiful Forest of Bowland. Lead by Dr Rick Peterson the project is investing how and why caves and rock-shelters were used in prehistory and is currently investigating archaeology features close to a cave complex. Rick regularly blogs about the project and muses about archaeology at, recent post include an excellent picture of a young rick digging in bright blue deck shoes!

The excellent day of archaeology is today and, almost as if we planned it, we have had a very productive two days since my last post. I climbed the hill yesterday to get this shot which shows how the three trenches we are digging this year fit together.


This is looking roughly north-east. Reading from the left hand side of the photo, we have trench M, then the slightly larger trench N and then trench P running down the slope.


This is where we are at in trench M. We have removed about 40 cms of topsoil and hillwash and are just starting to come down onto the layer that the prehistoric features were cut from. The natural sub-soil is the paler mottled surface and you can just see the large darker patch in front of where Connie and James are trowelling which is probably the soil filling a pit. Mike has helpfully sprayed up the edge so that it shows up in the photo and so we can find it again on Monday morning. We are finding lots and lots of worked chert and flint in these layers.

In trench N we have had to excavate and record a few features which were cut into the top of the hillwash layer before we can remove it. Therefore we would expect these to be quite late.


Mike and George are removing the fill of one of these, a long narrow irregular thing which is probably something to do with early 19th century ploughing. Josh has dug another one of these linear features and is just setting up to draw it in the photo. The other feature at this level in trench N is a small steep-sided pit filled with charcoal and quite a few fragments of cremated bone.


Phil has dug out half of the fill of this and Kayla is showing him how to draw a section drawing through the deposits before he excavates the other half. Although all these features may be relatively recent they all contain a lot of worked chert. We think this is because they cut down into prehistoric features beneath them.


We thought that the possible ditch in trench P would be medieval and would probably be a boundary. We now can see the line of the ditch very clearly. Connor and Jack are cleaning up the natural limestone bedrock at the front of the trench. Just beyond their boots the ditch was cut into this bedrock. Katie, Chelsea and Sammy are using mattocks and shovels to remove the rest of the topsoil in this area so we can see the ditch fill more clearly. What is also clear here is that we have no medieval finds at all and (relatively) vast quantities of very fine worked flint. The flint is mostly either blades or the waste from making blades. Jack also found another very nice chert scraper here towards the end of the day. So.. … we are getting quite excited about the idea that this ditch may be part of something prehistoric after all. Next week we are going to do a whole lot more gradiometer survey to the north of the area we have already done to see if/where the ditch continues.

Wildlife of the day, cowboys


Come to where the flavor is….


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