Monday, October 17, 2011

Archeology in Ennerdale valley.

Last Friday Andy met up with 5 other volunteers to check up on some of the archaeological sites in the valley. We planned to walk along the southern lake shore and locate as many as possible using information supplied by Gareth from the Forestry commission.
The first site was a bit vague and could have been the site of a potash kiln but like a lot of things looked at that day much of it is only supposition as they have not been properly investigated, there are several hundred sites in the valley so not surprising.
The next one was a short distance to the east but above the path, they are not sure what its purpose is as its quite small, there was a suggestion that it could have been a medieval chicken coup!!
We moved on to the other side of Anglers Crag to the site of a medieval Bloomery, this is where iron ore was smelted.
Peek a boo
This is the actual mine site, surprisingly only 10 metres away from the bloomery. Talking to locals they have always assumed the mine site was much further up the fell.
The comment about the next site was that if we cant find it we might as well go home. Well we had lunch about 15 metres away and we searched for about 20 minutes before it was found on the lake shore. Some of the descriptions and gps data wasn't accurate. This was also part of our brief to accurately locate the sites.
This one was described to be to large for a sheepfold but may have been a dwelling. If the lake has risen this is possible but if not we came to the conclusion that it could have been a dock/harbour, well its a good guess as any!
Continuing further east the next one was described as another potash kiln or possible a bothy as it had a chimney.
The last site we looked at was another bloomery, this picture is of the slag heap where it is estimated there is 1.5 tons of slag.
The bloomery
We again had trouble finding this site. The info we had said there was a crab apple tree on this site and there was slag in the stream bed. There were several streams running through the site and we eventually found the slag very close to the lake side where it had been washed down. As to the tree there were a few that had fell down but the slag heap was next to a very old HOLLY tree, obviously Archaeologists not Botanists!
A good day out and many more sites to discover.

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