Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Guest Post: Emily Parker, Historic Environment Record intern

Today we are pleased to feature a guest post from Emily Parker, who has been undertaking a placement with the Historic Environment Record team. Here's what Emily has to say about her time with us:

I am currently undertaking a placement with the Historic Environment Record office part of the Archive and Archaeology service. This placement is part of my masters in Heritage Management which I am currently enrolled on at Birmingham University.

At the start of my placement I visited several areas of Worcestershire with another member of the Historic Environment Record team as part of the Heritage at Risk Monitoring Project. This project aims to assess on a yearly basis the undesignated (not listed) buildings and sites in specifically chosen areas of the county. This allows the Historic Environment team to get an annual picture of the state of these assets in the county and a more general idea about the state of heritage sites across the county.   

 Monitoring the condition of the churchyard at St John the Baptist, Bromsgrove.

In the second half of my placement I have been involved with the Historic Buildings of Worcester project. This project aims to record all buildings in the county which are visible on the first edition ordnance survey map. This involved visiting Alvechurch and Kempsey to photograph these buildings alongside other members of the Historic Environment team. After photographing the buildings I then recorded the architecture of the buildings to form the basis of the record for them.

Photographing Church Street, Kempsey.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my placement with the Historic Environment team and it has encouraged me to pursue this career further after completing my masters.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Live illustration event

On Thursday 27th June you'll be able to see one of our archaeological illustrators at work in The Hive. These members of staff usually work out of public sight, and you normally only see the finished results on interpretation boards or in archaeological reports. They draw artefacts found on sites, reconstruct objects from what was found, and try to recreate what places may have looked like from the archaeological and historical evidence.

Specialist Stuart Blaylock and illustrator Laura Templeton examining the fragments of casting mould before illustration begins

On the 27th  between 10am-4pm Laura Templeton will be on level 2 in The Hive drawing two cauldrons and a skillet. They were found on the site of the Hive during excavations and have dated to the 18th century. If you are in The Hive that day you can pop up and see how she is getting on and get an insight into the process of brining the past to life.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Wyre Forest stream-walking survey

Worcestershire Archaeology is working with volunteers on a stream-walking survey of the Dowles, Baveney and Lem Brooks within the Wyre Forest Landscape Partnership project area (resulting in approximately 17 km of watercourse surveyed). The aim of the survey is to record archaeological evidence for structures, fords, relict stream channels or prehistoric burnt mounds. The type of structures we hope to find could include, for example: mills, kilns, bridges, revetments and fish weirs, which we anticipate will be visible mainly in the form of worked stone, timbers or brickwork. We are also interested in evidence for relict stream channels and burnt mounds which are likely to be visible as organic deposits, charcoal and burnt stone in the stream bank.

Burnt mounds are something that may be unfamiliar. We find them archaeologically, usually associated with watercourses, and commonly in the West Midlands. They are prehistoric in date (Bronze Age to Iron Age) and consist of mounds of burnt, heat-cracked stone and charcoal. There is some debate about what they are, but the general consensus is that they are most likely to be the remains of sweat lodges (more explanation will be forthcoming in future posts).
This work is important as streams, and their associated archaeology, are very vulnerable to flood damage, and we've been no strangers to the affects of flooding this past winter! Increasingly our watercourses are also being affected by flood prevention engineering works, so this allows us to assess the character of the stream-bank archaeology in advance of any work taking place. This is a small pilot project designed to test and refine our survey methods.

The work is funded by the Forestry Commission, and is led by Worcestershire Archives and Archaeology Service. The project leader is Liz Pearson.
If you would like to find out more about this project and keep up-to-date with developments, you can now follow the Wyre Forest Stream-walking blog.

Monday, 17 June 2013

DigBromsgrove: Call for Volunteers!

Between the 9th and the 19th of July, Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service will be leading a Community Archaeology project in Bromsgrove. An archaeological excavation will be taking place at the Market Place, at the south end of the High Street, with an accompanying public exhibition.

The excavation will be carried out by volunteers, with full equipment, training and supervision provided by our Archaeologists.

We are looking for volunteers who can commit to at least 2 or 3 days over the course of the project, to take part in the excavation. All ages and abilities are welcome! (though being able to get in and out of a shallow trench is handy). If you'd like to get involved but don't feel that digging is for you, we're also looking for volunteers to help us to clean (ie wash) the finds and to run the public exhibition.

So, whatever your level of archaeological experience, whether seasoned digger or avid armchair archaeologist, if you're keen to get involved with an exciting project to look at a little-explored area of historic Bromsgrove, get in touch with David Thomas with details of when you'd like to take part and what you'd like to do:

            David Thomas, THI Officer
            Tel: 01527 881343

Over the course of the project, you'll be able to follow the progress of the excavation and the background research via a dedicated blog, coming soon at

We'll also be featuring finds, interviews with participants and behind-the-scenes updates on a variety of different social media platforms. Follow the hashtag #digbromsgrove to keep up-to-date with the project.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Malvern Walkpast - Saturday 6th July

The Malvern Hills are always a popular for walking, and the third in our Walkpast series will be here on the afternoon Saturday 6th July. Starting from The Wyche, the 4 mile walk will go along the famous Shire Ditch into parkland. Walking along ancient holloways through a wooded landscape dotted with quarries, you will see a variety of archaeological features and visit some very well preserved limekilns.
Aisling Nash, who'll be leading the walk, said, "The Malverns is a really popular place for walks, but people don't always recognise or understand the archaeology that they walk past, so this is a great opportunity to discover more."

Places are limited and need to be booked in advance. Please email or ring 01905 765576 to reserve your place, or e-mail if you'd like to ask any questions about the walk.

The event is also part of the Geofest, Highlighting and celebrating the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark. For more details about other events please visit