WE DIG IT: During last summer’s excavations in Holwick
WE DIG IT: During last summer’s excavations in Holwick

A SECOND dig will take place at a deserted medieval settlement in Teesdale next month.

Well Head, in Holwick, is one of a number of abandoned medieval sites along the southern edge of the Teesdale valley floor.

Last year, an Altogether Archaeology excavation focused on two of the buildings and revealed a rich collection of small finds, showing that the settlement was active for a “considerable period of time” during the middle ages.

No one knows why it was deserted but theories include the plague, a worsening of the climate and even the Anglo-Scottish wars.

Chris Powell, from Altogether Archaeology, said: “The site attracted a significant amount of interest, enough to warrant a return to Holwick this year to seek out additional evidence to help date the settlement.”

Altogether Archaeology, which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by the North Pennines AONB, said it was delighted that the project has been awarded £3,900 from the Northern Heartlands Community Initiative Fund. Mr Powell added: “As well as helping to cover the costs of the excavation itself, this will enable the group to offer a range of exciting opportunities for local people and visitors to become involved.”

The Well Head settlement first came to the attention of AA in 2011 during an archaeological survey. A further survey followed and identified ten rectangular buildings with what are believed to be yards.

The dig will take place between May 12 and May 27 and a number of public events are planned. A talk about the results of last year’s dig will take place on Monday, April 16, at 7.30pm, in Middleton-in-Teesdale Village Hall. Archaeologists will also talk about what they are planning to do during the dig in May.

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“We will explain how people can get involved and there will also be an opportunity to look at some of the finds from the site,” said Mr Powell.

There will also be: 

l An open day on the excavation site during the second week of the dig when experts will offer guided tours and an explanation of the work in progress.

l Archaeology walks looking at some of the rich archaeological heritage of upper Teesdale.

l After the dig is finished there will be opportunities for people to become involved in workshops when Altogether Archaeology will be cleaning and recording finds.

l Later in the year a final public talk will discuss the results of this year’s excavation.

Further details will be announced later and updates will be available at www.alt