Archaeologist with years of feild experience joins project team

Posted: 17.04.12

Charting the evolution of human interaction with the landscape is an exciting challenge in the South Pennines; a challenge relished by an archaeologist with years of field experience.

Louise Brown, recently appointed as community archaeologist by Pennine Prospects to work on the Watershed Landscape project, brings her knowledge of excavation, as well as different forms of surveying to the successful CSI (Carved Stones Investigation) Project on Rombalds Moor, above Ilkley, and the Riches of the Earth Project taking place on Todmorden Moor and Baildon Moor.

Both projects have teams of volunteers at their heart; professionally trained in the cutting edge techniques of archaeology to conduct surveys of their landscapes, offering a direct link with the people of the South Pennines 5,000 years ago in the early Bronze Age when the area was transformed by changing farming methods and more recently when the area became a key component in the industrial revolution.

“I will be consolidating work already undertaken as part of the Watershed Landscape project,” explained Louise, honorary research fellow in archaeology at the University of Bradford. “In previous projects I’ve been involved in teaching and training people how to excavate, going through the methods, and then in aspects of assessing finds and data. I’m passionate about the training aspect of my work.

“The volunteers we have working on these projects are focussed and hard working. They are learning valuable skills that will be useful for the future, for employment, different projects or continuing to record the features in this landscape and at the same time they are generating valuable data that is not only useful for these projects but which will also be available for other archaeologists to use in the future.”

In the CSI Project the dedicated volunteers have braved the elements to record prehistoric carvings, using photogrammetry, the latest computer software to create detailed line drawings, contour plots and 3-D surface models, to establish a benchmark for comparison. These findings will then be uploaded onto the national database, England’s Rock Art, to enable comparison with other rock art finds nationally, and to enable archaeologists in the future to assess the extent of deterioration over time.

The South Pennines uplands also offered past generations rich pickings for those willing to extract their wealth. “Many of the settlements close to the moorland exist because of the rich mineral content of the area but even so there is a definite gap in the knowledge as far as industrial archaeology in this area is concerned. The Riches of the Earth is a survey project in which volunteers will survey the landscape. They know the features; it’s their landscape after all. It’s my role to give them the know-how, the toolkit so they can achieve professional standards, and also provide advice and guidance when needed.”

Louise is an advocate of the hands-on approach. Through her work at the University of Bradford she has been involved in the Old Scatness Broch and Jarlshof Environs Project in the Shetland Isles since 1995. Louise also works on archaeology projects with local community groups in the Bradford area.
Louise will be working as the community archaeologist on the Watershed Landscape project until its conclusion in 2013, when she hopes to bring all the volunteers and partners together to share their findings at a heritage conference.

Funding is being made available through the Watershed Landscape Project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the South Pennines LEADER programme, (the Rural Development Programme for England), which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union, and managed by Pennine Prospects.

Yorkshire Water United Utilities Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council National Farmers Union
South Pennines Association Lancashire County Council Pennine Heritage Kirklees Council Calderdale Council
Bradford District Council Northern Rail Natural England Environment Agency The National Trust