Music for our story | No Going Back

Dear Followers,

We wish everybody well during these extraordinary times. COVID19 has and will continue to have impacts on all of our lives, personal, professional, aspirations in many cases. Our heritage and archaeological ambitions are also on hold – not least for very practical reasons while on lock-down, but also because, understandably, grant funding bodies and our partner organisations such as Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum, are also impacted. The Heritage Lottery for example have frozen all grants and created a £50m emergency fund for heritage and museum organisations at risk. We must all wait and see.

Music Be The Food of Love

In the meantime, I’m delighted to share a recent song by John D Hastings, a native of Eston. This track here on Youtube, “When It’s Gone” is very moving, inspired by some of the challenges we have with arson and anti-social behaviour, launched on Earth Day 2020.

Words, Music and Vocals: John D Hastings. Piano: Ira Thomas. Recorded at Crown Lane Studios, Morden. Surrey

Peeking Into The Past

As a lock-down treat, here’s a fantastic picture, courtesy of © Adam Stanford of of three prehistoric round houses. While these are reconstructions at Castell Henllys, Pembrokeshire (2012), they resemble the cluster we have at Airy Hill within an enclosure dating to the Bronze Age or Iron Age, and revealed by geophysical survey in Field 7 last year. Don’t be deceived. Roundhouses are huge! Read more about the 2019 results »


I’m also delighted to have presented our projects, ICE & FIRE (Eston Hills) and REAPING TIME (Airy Hill) at the Lithics Studies Society 40th Anniversary Conference in Newark last October, and then again at their AGM at the British Museum. In an alternative to talking about prehistoric stone tools, the presentation focused with dramatic images on the community aspects of our projects: Archaeology For All with a little bit of shock-and-awe! That’s me in the back centre amongst national experts.Lastly for now, we also submitted an article about CAT, our work and ambitions, to the latest Teesside Archaeological Society Bulletin journal No. 24 (2020), published in February. While they’re updating their website (that’s me), you can download the journal for free here (PDF) »

And Finally

With more news to come, we have been successful with ongoing grant funding for an allied Mesolithic Transitions project, although dependent on university laboratories re-opening. Read more »You can register your interest in future involvement, without commitment. We’ll be sending news updates through the year.

Kind Regards,

Spencer Carter (Spence)
Managing Director

Cleveland Archaeology Trust is now registered and ready!

In a great start to 2020, Cleveland Archaeology Trust is registered in England & Wales as a Community Interest Company (CIC) no. 12441367. We now also have a business bank account, three directors including my colleagues Paul Docherty & Guy Forster, and a fantastic team of specialist advisors. We’re ready to make funding grant applications and seek donations for ongoing community projects in our patch of north-east England, hopefully continuing later in the year, after three amazing years of evaluations. See what we’re up to at

  • ICE & FIRE | Eston Hills Rescue Archaeology Project
  • REAPING TIME | East Cleveland Community Archaeology Project
  • MESOLITHIC TRANSITIONS | Late Mesolithic Research Project in Westerdale
  • MORTON CARRS | Early Prehistoric Landscape Project

There’s a summary of our 2017-2019 evaluations around four project areas, published in Teesside Archaeological Society’s BULLETIN Journal 24, 2020 (see pages 26-43).

Evaluation Success – What’s Next?

All projects have enjoyed exceptional evaluation phases to scope future potential. We’re seeking permissions to proceed at Airy Hill for REAPING TIME, ahead of grant applications, all inter-dependent. A likely change in land management is a factor, as well as tying in to the agricultural calendar for excavation work, after crop removal in late summer. Similarly, land ownership has changed hands recently for access to Eston Hills, more likely for a 2021 re-engagement. The Westerdale research project, involving radiocarbon dating of peat samples, is in funding mode with one already successful. The research will indicate future possibilities for on- and off-site community activities.

You can register your interest in future involvement, without commitment. We’ll be sending news updates through the year.

Kind Regards,

Spencer Carter (Spence)

Cleveland Archaeology Trust | Fieldwalking at Airy Hill | 29-Sep to 04-Oct

CLEVELAND ARCHAEOLOGY TRUST is conducting field-walking around Airy Hill Farm, near Boosbeck, off the Cleveland Way footpath above Skelton Green (see below). Please forgive the very short notice due to constraints of the agricultural calendar and supervisor availability.

Sunday 29-Sep Informal Volunteer Drop-In Induction *RECOMMENDED*

“Where, why, how and what” with finds handling and registration for fieldwork.

Where: Tees Wildlife Trust, Margrove Heritage Centre, Margrove Park, Boosbeck, TS12 3BZ. Free parking and toilet facilities.
Time: Midday until 3pm (any time)

Field-walking Mon-30-Sep through Fri-04-Oct around 9.30am to 3.30pm

*NOTE* after the very wet weather on Sun-29-Sep, Monday may prove too muddy for field-walking, but we’ll assess that morning.

10-15 max volunteers aged 18+, age 11+ (but is school week) require parent or guardian presence (no dogs please). If we have more people we may either pair-up or do a “first come” selection. Suitable clothing for walking wet ploughed fields (wellington boots and a bin bag with change of shoes), food, fluids and sanitary hand treatment. A portaloo is provided, insurance covered for third party liability.

Gather at 9.00am at the bottom of the Cleveland Way / farm track (not on the track please) at Skelton Green. The walk from there to the farm is moderate but not long; it is derivable but rather rough. We have a 4×4 which seats three, and can do runs to the farm house HQ area. Please do not enter any fields unaccompanied.

Apologies again for the very short notice. There will be more chances – and much more fieldwork – next year, grant funding dependent. We also aim to present our results so far at community and school venues through the winter and Spring 2020.

Kind Regards,
Spencer Carter (Spence)

Neolithic Journey | Eston Hills arrowhead is well-travelled!

A late Neolithic arrowhead, a Ripple-flaked Oblique type more than 5000 years old and discovered in the 1980s, has always stood out amongst other finds because of the unusual quality of the flint and fine working. It’s tip and tail are both missing. Interestingly, a similar large example was found in the same vicinity, now in the Duffy collection at Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar. It is broken in the same way and has been burnt. The find spots are adjacent to a large, intact burial mound close to the Carr Ponds wetland at the north-western end of Eston Hills above Teesside, north-east England. While these burial mounds usually date to the Bronze Age, it is possible that some are of earlier date, before the arrival of copper and bronze metalwork.

ZAP! Science and lasers

The arrowhead was examined by Dr Tom Elliot of the University of Worcester and included in the analysis stage of his doctoral research¹, which investigated the geological source of Mesolithic artefacts from the Lower Wye Valley region of the Anglo-Welsh border. We’re extremely grateful to Tom for his help and interest.

This used Laser Ablation Inductively-Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and was conducted at the University of Oxford Department of Earth Sciences.

The results were compared to over 1200 analyses of geological samples from 21 bedrock sites from across the Chalk, as well as 14 sites that sampled a range of superficial deposits, such as river terrace gravels and glacial tills, centred on the Severn Valley and Estuary.

Statistical analysis indicates strongly that the arrowhead comes from the geology represented in the samples from Beer Head in Devon, and importantly discounted other geological sites sampled in Tom’s research.

Map of Chalk bedrock sample sites overlaid on White and Grey (darker green) Chalk and OS 50m DTM (click to enlarge).

FH – Flamborough Head, ER – Enthorpe Railway Cutting, WW – Welton Wold Chalk Pit, TC – Trimmingham Cliffs, CS – Caistor St Edmund Chalk Pit, BC – Brandon Country Park (superficial deposit samples), KC – Kensworth Chalk Pit, AR – Aston Rowant Nature Reserve, SL – South Lodge Chalk Pit, FG – Fognam Quarry, WB – Winterbourne Chalk Pit, BX – Boxford Chalk Pit, PF – Pewsey Hill Farm, LB – Langdon Bay, Dover, BM – Blick’s Mead/ Vespasian’s Camp (superficial deposit samples), WH – West Harnham Chalk Pit, SQ – Shillingstone Quarry, PH – Peacehaven Steps, BH – Hooken Cliff/ Beer Head, BP – Ballard Point, WN – White Nothe. © Tom Elliot.

While further investigation is needed to sample more geological material, particularly from the Teesside region, much of this material can already be ruled out by macroscopic visual comparison as it is often speckled and different to that of the artefact. The flint which occurs in our regional beach and glacial till deposits originated in chalk beds under the present North Sea (formerly Doggerland) and in neighbouring continental Europe, carried by the glaciers of the last Ice Age more than 12,000 years ago.

The implications of the results suggest that the arrowhead, or the material it was made from, travelled c.450km from the source at Beer Head in Devon, to the Eston Hills in North Yorkshire, putting it on a par with other widely distributed lithic materials during the Late Neolithic such as polished stone axes.

Thank you for reading — more news soon!

– Spencer Carter
Cleveland Archaeology Trust Project Team

¹ Elliot, T. (2019) The Mesolithic in the Marches: Geochemical Lithic Sourcing in the Lower Wye Valley. Unpublished PhD thesis. Worcester: University of Worcester.

March 2019 | Coordination to tackle arson and ASB on Eston Hills

Despite a 94% reduction in arson and anti-social behaviour on Eston Hills in 2018, this year has seen the problems start early, including fires and illegal off-road vehicles.

Adam Mead, archaeology co-director, and Rita Richardson of Friends of Eston Hills – of which Adam is now also a board member – convened an emergency meeting on Friday 29 March across multiple agencies and volunteer groups.

What follows here is a summary transcript of the meeting, with prospects and optimism around greater efforts. Archaeology projects are also seen as a significant component in public-community-landscape engagement and ongoing education.

Lots of interested parties attended:police, countryside ranger, Senior RCBC (Council) staff, Conservation advisor, Fire Brigade, Police (neighbourhood and motorcycle), MP’s office, PCC, Adam and myself.

Lots of new ideas were put on the table and we followed up lots of old ones – I did pass on everything I was asked to. There is some information that I can’t share yet,but I will when I can (trust me) but some good results.

  • Friends Of Eston Hills (FOEH) are going to be working with the Cleveland Fire Support Network- they will coordinate volunteers to walk the hills on evenings and weekends. They have volunteers but we need more so if you fancy being part of this voluntary team will you request to join our ‘working fb group’ – I will share the link. The special constables are also going to be part of this too.
  • The Fire Brigade were amazing: lots of initiatives going forward with the community and local schools. Education and information on ASB offered to all local schools and they will be running an amazing Competition for the kids.
  • Lots of positivity around another archeological dig – advice given regarding funding.
  • One idea which came to the table was an area just for bikes as happens in Durham. I loved it and will explore it and push for it.
  • The police informed us of DNA spray which they now use – you just need to spray someone with it as they are passing and it is perfect for illegal riders- you can find this on YouTube if you search. The police are doing their best but it is difficult for them with hardy any staff.
  • We spoke about rock armour and the barriers we have – more will follow on this.
  • Drones – the police will be using these.
  • Ranger Paul at the Flatts Lane country park centre will support FOEH and our working relationship will grow.

Even though they aren’t being caught on the hills at present, please report them as this helps with intelligence. Dial 999 in case of any fire or presence of firearms, 101 to report ASB or Crimestoppers.

The gates/barriers did help and in 2018: antisocial behaviour was down by 94%!

ASB has started much earlier this year so we need to work together to stop it.

One more thing Adam James Mead and I have thrown our hat into the ring as we both feel so strongly about all of this – we want changes – we want our community to feel safe up our hills SO we are both standing as independent councillors for the Teesville ward; with the boundary changes the ward covers most of Normanby and Eston too.

So hopefully we can push these changes forward and make more of a difference.

Rita Richardson (FOEH)

More on the archaeology project

Thank you for reading — more news soon!

– Spencer
Cleveland Archaeology Project Team