LOOKING BACK: Stunning views from the site at Well Head, in Holwick
LOOKING BACK: Stunning views from the site at Well Head, in Holwick

ARCHAEOLOGISTS say they have made “exciting new finds” which could prove there was a settlement in an area of upper Teesdale as early as the 10th century.

Altogether Archaeology and a team of 50 volunteers returned to Well Head, in Holwick, for a third season of excavations at a deserted medieval settlement.

The dig aimed to explore more of the longhouse remains they had previously excavated last year and in 2017. However 11 days into the two week dig they made their discovery.

Martin Green, fieldwork co-ordinator for Altogether Archaeology, said on one of the previously untouched stone longhouses they found the remnants of an earlier wall running diagonally through it. And by “deconstructing” part of the longhouse they hoped to see if this was part of an earlier dwelling.

Mr Green said: “We have had a number of interesting finds which were of a later age – buttons, pottery and remnants of household items.

“What is particularly heartening is we found early pottery under the base of the medieval wall so that leads us to believe that there could have been settlers here as far back as from the 10th and 11th century.”

He added radio-carbon dating of the black pottery pieces will help identify their age. One of Altogether Archaeology’s aims is to create a Holwick archive to complement the investigation and the group is hoping visitors and locals will get in touch to share stories, memories and thoughts about the area. During the dig, thanks to funding from Northern Heartlands, film makers and an oral historian spent time on the site talking to visitors, volunteers and the archaeologists.

Information from the two previous seasons of explorations have now been written up and the findings, including aerial photography of the site, can be found at www.altogether