Welcome to the first Pendle’s Hidden Valley blog of 2016. The first fieldwalk – around Admergill (thank you Brian & Richard) – takes place this Saturday & we have already been digging up at the Craggs kiln site. Behind the scenes things have been happening too. Lynn H has been doing sterling work raising funds & working with David T and others on a database. Gayle & Janet have been trawling the reference libraries for clues. Paul & I have been doing mid week forays with Dot the chert hound into the hills while the vegetation is down. Now back to the dig. In the last week we have joined the top & middle trenches. As usual no questions have been answered yet but more have been raised. We have made a few interesting discoveries.
Firstly the wall above – 3 courses deep so far & 5 pieces of charcoal recovered. Secondly another wall (2) – pictured below – where another piece of charcoal was found. This takes the total tally so far to 8. Thanks to a generous grant from the Robert Kiln Trust we will be able to submit some of these for C14 dating.
Finally, near close of play today – we uncovered what appears to be a heel impression (below) in a clump of clay fill between the two walls. The second of the two pictures below shows the impression clumsily outlined in yellow. It would appear to be from a right foot, 50mm across (my size 10 is 65mm in the corresponding place), and either a bare foot or one with an item close fitting footwear. There is a series of lines in the impressed material. Given that this later group of charcoal pieces come from above this heel print we may have discovered Pendle’s oldest human footprint so far.
If you want to join us in any capacity please contact us. We will be onsite at the kiln for another week (at the whim of the weather) after which it will have to be back filled. There will be further digs this year at Craggs, mostly near the site of Great Craggs (a far less strenuous walk in) and there will be a week long excavation at the end of May and into June. No experience is necessary as we can give you training on site (non digging roles are available – and essential). Don’t be shy and keep an eye on the events calendar. Alex Whitlock 21 April 2016