An earthwork on Appleby golf course, previously thought to be a Roman signal station, is actually a 4,000 year-old Bronze Age burial mound!
In May 2011 Altogether Archaeology volunteers, under the direction of North Pennines Archaeology Ltd and in association with the Appleby Archaeology group, completed an evaluation of a circular earthwork on Appleby Golf Course thought to be a Roman signal tower.
Twice as old as thought
The site proved to be not a 2,000-year-old Roman tower, but a 4,000-year-old Bronze Age ceremonial monument containing several cremation burials in pits, some of which contained pottery vessels. Further analysis of the cremation burials should enable us to date the site quite accurately, and may also tell us much about the people who lived in this corner of the North Pennines 4,000 years ago. This project demonstrates how little we know about many aspects of North Pennines archaeology, and there will no doubt be further surprises as more sites are subjected to detailed investigation.
Another barrow is excavated
In October 2013, a second barrow at Brackenber was excavated by AA volunteers, directed by Adam Slater of Wardell Armstrong Archaeology. It was hoped that this would provide useful comparative data to help interpret the results of the 2011 excavation. Surprisingly , no burials were encountered, although only half of the mound was excavated. Several flint tools were found, including some of apparent Mesolithic date, perhaps from about 5,000BC, suggesting people were active here long before the barrow was built.
Appleby Archaeology Group
The AA work at Brackenber forms part of a wider initiative by Martin Railton and the Appleby Archaeology group investigating the fascinating prehistoric landscape of Brackenber Moor, much of which is now occupied by Appleby Golf Course. Further information about this work can be found on the Appleby Archaeology Group website. ( www.applebyarchaeology.org.uk )
Samples from both AA excavations are now undergoing scientific analysis, and full project reports will be available to download here in due course.
For further information about this project, or any other aspect of the Altogether Archaeology project, please contact the Project Manager, Paul Frodsham: email@example.com