Dig pics – first 5 days

The weather has been glorious, in between the showers, and what progress has been made. We’ve opened up four trenches: one right in front of the arches and we’re already pontificating on how the finds in each trench might fit together.

Here’s Richard our archaeologist from The Archaeology Practice supervising the digger moving the topsoil back.


Here’s some of the merry band of volunteers digging in…


…after they’d cleared some fallen rubble…

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..look at what they’ve found… could this be a smelting hearth? Note interesting v notch shape which might be where the molten lead was poured out…


…nearby is what might be a triangular shaped pit.. is it where the bellows were housed? These would have been used to pump oxygen into the fire to get the furnaces blazing away.


….and this looks like a launder – a channel taking water away from the main leat, perhaps to turn a water wheel that powered the bellows.


Blimey, after all that a well earned break in the sunshine. If you’d like to join in the dig, you;d be very welcome, send us an email at dukesfield@outlook.com (phones don’t work on site!) and have a look here for more information.

The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project aimed to celebrate and discover the heritage of the Dukesfield Arches & lead carriers' routes between Blaydon and the lead mines of Allendale and Weardale. A two year community project, it was led by the Friends of the North Pennines in partnership with Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the active support of Allendale Estates. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the generous support of other sponsors. Friends of the North Pennines: Charity No:1137467