Volunteers bid to dig up a piece of history

VOLUNTEER archaeologists hope to unearth another piece of Morpeth history in a dig this month.

The Herald previously reported how members of Coquetdale Community Archaeology had unearthed the best preserved medieval mill wheel pit in the country at Barrowburn Mill.

The mill had been operated by monks from Morpeth’s Newminster Abbey in the 13th century and last year’s underwater dig in the River Coquet revealed a 5m-long masonry wheel pit and a large wooden structure on the river bed.

The find was remarkable as it showed the pit was built to hold a specific type of wheel which was only thought to have appeared in Europe some 300 years later.

Now volunteers are going back to the site to see what else they can uncover.

They plan to re-open a previous trench and excavate down to the floor of the mill buildings alongside the pit, as well as investigate the nearby remains of what may have been a medieval long house.

Project Director Richard Carlton, of Archaeological Practice, said: “Once again it’ll be a challenging excavation for the group. Last year’s dig produced such breathtaking results that we can only hope our luck continues and yet more of this wonderful site will come to light.”

The project has been funded by a £9,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, while English Heritage provided £2,500. Other grants were secured from the Council for British Archaeology and the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne.

The dig will take place from Thursday, July 12 to Sunday, July 22, with a rest day on July 17. Visitors are welcome.