Unlocking Hidden Heritage
Leonardo da Vinci European Pilot Project
UK Action- Archaeological Survey
Dates: 18th June to 25th June 2007
The European Unlocking Hidden Heritage project in the UK was managed by Grampus Heritage and Training Ltd. Grampus is a non-profit making organisation based in the North West of England and is also responsible for the management of the 'Unlocking' Leonardo da Vinci Pilot Project.
Grampus is based in the county of Cumbria, a large part of which is made up of the Lake District National Park. The 'Unlocking' activities in Cumbria focused on working with local communities and volunteers to research and survey archaeological remains in the region around Bassenthwaite Lake.
was to provide training in non-invasive/non-destructive archaeological survey
techniques to increase understanding of archaeological sites, without causing
damage to the sites being investigated. By empowering community groups and
volunteers to identify and record cultural landscape features, we will ensure
increased understanding, appreciation and protection of the valuable cultural
landscape for generations to come.
Detailed Description of Activities
1) Local Community Engagement
It is an underpinning principle of the project that public inclusion and participation in archaeological survey and research need not compromise results. Our aim was to inspire interest and enthusiasm in the community and to harness this enthusiasm for the good of the project and, ultimately, for the good of the future of the landscape and cultural heritage resource. It soon became clear that a great deal of preparation was necessary prior to the UK training action, if we were to really share experience of community involvement in heritage research with our European partners. We also realised that a good deal of work would be necessary after the action to complete and present the results.
The first challenge in the project was to actively engage the community and to recruit willing volunteers. Our first targets for recruitment were the local history and archaeology groups in West Cumbria. Grampus gave a presentation to the West Cumbria Archaeological Society, advertising the opportunity for their members to join the project. This was a productive approach but was not really 'reaching out' in any sense to those who have little or no experience of archaeological research in the community.
Our next step in community engagement was to attempt to recruit from the 'public at large' and invite any local people with an interest to come along to a survey training day and receive training in basic archaeological survey and in the identification of cultural landscape features. Articles were posted in local magazines and newsletters and an event held at the local theatre to 'launch' the project in the UK and to describe the opportunities for local people. Attendees at the launch were invited to sign-up for training days in archival research and fieldwork, and were also invited to participate in the European Training Action.
As a result of this 2-tier approach, a group of some 40 local volunteers signed-up to join the project and participate in cultural landscape survey.
Fireplace and Chimney
2) Workshop on identifying critical cultural features
A series of training days were held during April and May 2007 to provide training for volunteers in the identification of cultural landscape features and techniques of recording these features. A workshop was also held at the beginning of the European Unlocking Hidden Heritage action to share experience with our European partners and to set the scene for the week of survey.
feature identification workshop also included a presentation on a number
of different landscape features which volunteers may encounter in the main
survey area around Caermote and Whittas park. The presentation and handouts
aimed to equip volunteers, not only with a knowledge of cultural landscape
features, but also with an understanding of the reason behind their creation.
In other words, we aimed to emphasis the link between man and the cultural
landscape and the relationship between our ancestors and their environment.
3) Interactive Archaeological / Topographic Survey
The survey work was divided into 2 main objectives. The first was to undertake a systematic walkover survey of a previously unsurveyed area of land called Whittas Park to the North of Bassenthwaite Lake. This area survey was carried out by community volunteers and our European partners. Surveys were conducted in teams, with a minimum of three participants per team. Each team was provided with the following equipment:
1 GPS Handset
- eTrex Venture 12 parallel channel GPS receiver
1 Digital Camera - Fujifilm FinePix F30 6.3 megapixel with 3 X Zoom
1 Camera case
1 A3 Weatherwriter
1 Base Map (1st Edition OS) & current edition
1 Ranging Pole
1 30m measuring tape
1 First Aid Kit
Feature recording sheets
Photographic Recording Sheets
Survey teams were allocated specific areas of land and were then asked to walk the land and record any cultural landscape features identified. The project utilized 4 sets of the above equipment, which meant that a maximum of 4 teams could be out surveying at any one time. In reality however, the extra equipment meant that two sets of equipment could be in the process of being downloaded and processed by Grampus whilst the other two sets were being used in surveys.
A series of training days were held to provide training in the use of survey equipment and to develop volunteer skills in the recognition and recording of Historic Environment features. The training area used had been previously visited by Grampus staff. The visit revealed charcoal burning platforms and an old footbridge, in addition to a Bloomsmithy site already identified and recorded. The area therefore provided an excellent opportunity for volunteers to develop their identification and recording skills before moving on to new survey areas.
Ideally working in groups of 4 or 5, volunteers were able to gain experience in the use of all of the survey equipment. The survey procedure for each identified historic landscape feature was as follows:
waypoint on GPS handset on or beside feature. (Also records elevation)
2. Record grid reference manually on feature sheet
3. Record GPS waypoint number manually on feature sheet
4. Record Woodland Name (e.g Caermote) and Survey Area (e.g CM01) on feature sheet
5. Describe Feature on sheet
6. Draw diagram if appropriate
7. Measure feature and record measurements on sheet
8. Take photographs of feature with ranging pole in shot. Two photographs of each feature if possible, from different perspectives. Record the camera ID and photo reference numbers on feature sheet and photographic recording sheet. Use compass to record direction facing when taking each photograph.
9. Make a note on record sheet of any associated features.
Following completion of training days with Grampus archaeologists, volunteers then signed up for survey days where they would be accompanied by Grampus staff to undertake systematic survey fieldwork of survey areas.
Survey areas were created on basemaps using boundaries and features easily identified on the ground (walls, tracks, streams ). The sub-divided survey areas were then sensibly divided into transects by survey teams, the width of each transect or traverse being dependent on visibility, terrain and safety considerations. Hazardous areas were identified and not included in survey. These mainly consisted of extremely steep areas and some very marshy areas. Apart from these few exceptions, all of the ground was physically walked by survey teams.
Report from the Action in England
Report written by Icelandic Participant on the Action in England