Great Asby Scar Archaeology Survey Introductory Day




Penny Middleton

The Great Asby Scar project kicked off this week with a morning drop-in session at the Orton Market Hall followed by an afternoon taster session of archaeological field survey. The day was led by Rebecca and Penny from NAA, in collaboration with Hannah Kingsbury from the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership (WDLP).

The morning session allowed people to pop in and have a look at information about the site, flick through the project design and discuss the upcoming survey. It was concluded with a talk by Penny on the archaeology of the area and results of the earlier taster day surveys. In total, 111 sites have been identified across the upland, showing the potential of this type of rapid field survey, and how the results drawn from them can change our perceptions of the historic landscape. This was followed by a discussion of the survey methodology and a question and answer session.

The afternoon focused on allowing participants to head up to an area being targeted with survey and have an opportunity to learn some basic field survey techniques. The overall 11km squared project area has been divided into several zones according to archaeological potential, which helps us to cover large areas efficiently in the time available. The season of survey is focus on areas considered to be of high potential, and so we are hoping to find some really exciting features!

Survey began on Knott (Zone D) a promontory on the south side of the Scar. Immediately on entry into the zone there was a large quarry, which would have provided stone for both building and lime burning —a limekiln was noted just outside the zone. Volunteers were shown how to record the site as part of a basic Level 1 survey. We then walked a series of ‘transect’ across the lower slope and recorded numerous other sites. The weather was fantastic and certainly contributed to a great start to the project.

The Great Asby Scar Archaeological Survey forms one of the heritage projects being run by the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership (WDLP), a National Lottery Heritage Funded project that aims to unlock and reveal the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales. During the survey volunteers will be trained on how to ‘read the landscape’ and identify evidence of past human activity across the Scar. Participants will learn how to set up a field survey and the methods used to record sites. There will also be an opportunity to see how the information gathered is used to help manage the archaeological resource for future generations.

The first field season will begin this Monday —23rd September— and will run for three weeks. If you would like to take part in the survey, please email your interest to or phone on 01539 756624. Click here for further details.

For a weather update please click here.

We will be posting on the blog as the project progresses so keep an eye on our blog for update

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