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

Cleveland Archaeology | News Update October 2018: Posters, Funding and Geofizz

Spencer Carter, Projects Co-Director, will present a poster and talk about the ICE AND FIRE rescue archaeology project on Teesside’s Eston Hills, at the Palaeolithic & Mesolithic Conference being held at the British Museum, 25-6 October 2018.

Learn more about the project »

In the meantime, we have applied to Teesside Philanthropic Foundation for funding so that we can print more of the ICE AND FIRE 2018 Report booklet for distribution across schools and community outlets. Wish us luck!


We’re also delighted to have received the REAPING TIME geophysical survey report by Archaeological Services Durham University for the summer survey of more than 30ha as part of the initial Explore and Evaluate phase.

Learn more about the project »

The results are tremendously exciting and add much detail, as well as questions, to our observations of crop and soil marks from satellite and LiDAR (aerial laser) imagery. The report, in addition to the field-walking finds and surface observations, will influence our proposals for community engagement in 2019-20, subject to review and funding. Discussions will take place through November in the hope that we can kick-off more field-walking and finds processing in Spring 2019, followed by summer test pit excavations of selected features.

Thank you for reading — more news soon!

– Spencer
Cleveland Archaeology Project Team

REAPING TIME | Recent finds Aug-Sep 2018

In extensive field-walking we have recovered finds spanning the whole of prehistory, from the Ice Age around 12,000 years ago to the Bronze Age and perhaps Iron Age too. You can explore this in our archaeology timelines chart and suggested reading lists – mostly free downloads. Below are a few of our favourite finds so far, all recorded 3D using a GPS device so that we can plot spatial patterns and map surface finds against aerial images and the geophysical survey results which are due soon.

Related pages

About the project | Maps and satellite images | Finds and latest results »

Flint rod tool | Field 10, Small find 009

This flint artefact dates to Early Neolithic period, from around 3800 to 3500 BC. These were our first farmers, pottery-makers and monument builders.

The function of rods isn’t clear but this may have been a handy multi-purpose tool hafted into a wood, bone, horn or antler handle using mastic glue and twine or leather. For our area, flint is common in beach gravels and glacial boulder clay deposits and was exploited throughout prehistory and even in the post-medieval times for muskets and flintlock guns.

Flint leaf-shaped arrowhead | Field 7, Small find 015
This rather small example, missing only 1.5mm of its tip, also dates to the Early to Mid-Neolithic period. Since flint is plentiful at this time, the small size may relate to a more specialist purpose. It’s around a third the size of a normal arrowhead. Perhaps it was used for small game or wildfowl, or even blood-letting cattle or pigs. What do you think?
Flint thumbnail scraper | Field 6, Small find 014

Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age Beaker period flint thumbnail scraper, burnt (dating to around 2500-1800 BC), often associated with burials or cremations rather than practical functions. This find is from area close to a known and unexcavated Bronze Age burial mound (barrow) on the edge of Airy Hill’s plateau.

Stone whetstone or hone | Field 6, Small find 016

This fragment has smoothed and angled surfaces. It would have been used for sharping or smoothing either stone or metal tools, or even wood or bone due to its fine, abrasive properties. It most likely dates to a later prehistoric period, given the other finds in this field.

Field Observations

Something’s burning?

During our walk-over survey work some important field observations were recorded. The large oval enclosure (rather than a D-shaped enclosure), so prominent on LiDAR and aerial images, is also very visible in Field 2B – you can still walk around its large ditch and banks and see at last two entrances, together with large stone scatters and possible burnt clay in the ploughsoil. One 1m x 0.25m area at the base of a plough slot was cleaned to reveal burnt clay, charcoal fragments and possible stake holes and a single, eroded sherd of pottery. The cleaned area has been recorded with both images and a context sheet which describes the observations.

Is it Wet?

Elsewhere, one area of the ditch appears to be waterlogged and so holds potential for using an engine-driven auger to remove cores for environmental, finds and dating analysis. This is being planned for the Spring 2019 season, as well as coring the wetland area at Margrove Park below Airy Hill.

Stony ground

Some stone concentrations in Field 4, adjacent to the two known Bronze Age barrows (scheduled ancient monuments) and in Field 1 might, together with aerial image anomalies, also be remnants of previously unrecorded barrows or structures. Again, in Field 2B image right, there seem to be stone concentrations and possible structure platforms. We hope the geophysical survey results will reveal more!

Thank you for reading — more news soon!

– Spencer
Cleveland Archaeology Project Team

Welcome to Cleveland Archaeology

Cleveland Archaeology is a portal for active community archaeological projects being undertaken by TimeVista Archaeology and colleagues in the Teesside and Cleveland areas south of the River Tees, ceremonially north-east Yorkshire. Our Cleveland projects are non-commercial and not-for-profit, funded with grants from the Big Lottery Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund as well as other charitable and philanthropic organisations. This site does not include projects being conducted by other voluntary or commercial groups.

Our Mission | Connecting People With Place by promoting well-being, belonging and cultural value through sustainable Heritage and Archaeology.

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