As part of the Festival of Archaeology 2017 we carried out a public dig over one weekend in Cheetham Park, Stalybridge. It was a chance for the general public to see archaeology in progress and even to have a go if they wished, as many did.
The site of Eastwood House, the home of the Cheethams, has been the subject of digs in the past, but this time we opened up a new trench where we expected to find part of the front of the building. One of the more interesting structural features uncovered was a rather deep drain that seemed to have run along the front of the house and quite a lot of its iron grill ended up in the finds tray, along with pottery, the ubiquitous clay pipe stems and a fascinating piece of slate that seemed to have had some designs drawn upon it. That one’s still got us scratching our heads!
The dig was very well attended, especially on the Sunday when we enjoyed better weather. Lots of youngsters joined us and one lad made our first find – a piece of tile with the word “death” written on it! He was thrilled to bits, as you might imagine.
Alison, one of our vistors, subsequently submitted an excellent write-up of the event to the Archaeology and Metal Detecting Magazine. You can read it here
Mother and daughter discovering archaeology together.
Part of the drain that seemed to be turning an unexpected corner.
Different parts of the trench were revealing different features.
This eager crew seemed to be especially lucky with finds!
The weather was sublime, and everyone enjoyed the day including an excellent meal with a suberb view over the Abbey from the Tea Cottage.
Blind arcading and nature in one
Warmly welcome to TAS members on the last of three social visits this year.
The Chancel ( East end of the Church) overlooking the river
Remains of South Transept, which had connections witht he old and then the replacement chapter house. The cloisters, the Dormitory for those early morning services, the Reredorter and the priors lodging.
The ruins still provide an interesting view into the past of the Augustinian Priory. The present use of the site with the Priory Church keeps the site alive. Great day out highly recommeded for all the family.
15th and 16th July 2017 at cheetham park, Stalybridge, 10am to 4pm each day. Public excavations will recommence on part of the original Hall. Event is free and equipment will be provided. Have a go at geophysics or digging.
For links to other archaeology events in the North west check out the following link http://www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk/
Archaeology for all
Superb quality workmanship
A short trip to Stoke brought us to an exhibtion of part of the Staffordshire Hoard. This was Kevin’s last trip before stepping down as Chairman of TAS.
Kevin dressing up on regal seating at museum
Then a visit to ST Giles, Cheadle near Stoke to have a look the gothic revial stlye of Architect ‘Pugin’.
West Porch St Giles, Keith, Greta and Chris
TAS members visited the Augstininian priory (1134) remains and museum complex in Runcorn. The remains were excavated from 1971. A newly updated museum complex is well worth visiting and a new viewing gallery of the site. Following the Visit a fleeting visit to the Castle pub and then Halton castle in freezing conditions.
View from New gallery
Two major phases of construction, grafitti adorns the earlier stone windows
close up of wall outline of the main church walling and edge of the cloister
Illuminated late 14th century statue of St Christopher and TAS members
Following on from the search for a roman road bewtween stalybrdge and Castleshaw. This involved geophysical transects across farmers fields along the highests ridges to the South of Hartshead.
Three strong geophysical anomalies were evaluated by test pitting. These test pits were in different farms. Two of the anomalies were 19th Century rubbish pits with local stone, pottery and glass. The third anomaly indicated a couple of possible stake holes and the edge of a pit which was filled with soft clay.
View across to Hartshead Pike
A local farmer advised TAS of a mound in one of his fields. TAS set out to evaluate the mound for evidence of how it was formed. Earlier this year geophysical assessments were undertaken using resistivity and magnetomentry, these indicated anomalies in both geophysical surveys.
Today one of the anomalies and part of the mound was assessed by a test pit.
TAS members Mike and Keith locating the anomalies on the geophysical results to select sites for test pits.
A busy archaeology weekend saw mebers of the public expose more of the foundations of Eastwood House in Cheetham Park, stalybridge
Saturday saw the Manchester Young Archaeologist club open up their own area on the area of the main house trying to find the west wall.
The general public exposed the entrance to the main house overlapping excavations in 2014, with finds such as a mason mark in a stone and a fragment of a pilaster.
Many thanks to all the TAS members for helping out with the event.
Close up inspection of the entrance to the house.
Sun shines down on the various activites
Cellar evident under entrance to the house and external drain slot separating possible location of columns for entrance way
An open dig to all at Cheetham park, Stalybridge has been planned. The return to the site of Eastwood House will be trying to discover the main entrance to the orginal building.
The dig starts from 10am to 4pm.