Roman Research in North Yorkshire

On the 13th December 2014, I gave a talk at Thornton le Street as part of a series of talks promoting current and proposed research into  the Roman Roads of North Yorkshire.

My talk was the last in the first series of four which had all been well attended. My talk to my surprise got over 70 people paying to attend, suggesting the potential for amateur archaeological endeavour in North Yorkshire is  waiting to be tapped.

The talks were organised by John Sheehan, well known to the archaeological community in the region, and who has been leading a proposal to carry out investigations into potential Roman archaeology  along the alignment of Cades Road ( Margary 80a), on its route through the Thirsk/ Northallerton area.

Fieldwork and geophysical survey are on the cards in the next few months,  as are a further series of talks, anybody who might be interested in attending or  taking part, can  contact John at:



Quid Pro Quo….

Amateur archaeological endeavour  in the post 1990 PPG16 world has to some degree been conditioned by developer funded archaeology  into the mindset that useful amateur archaeology can only be undertaken either as a subset of a funded project, or by establishing an independent funding stream before a trowel is dusted off.  With archaeology now subject to the same austerity as everybody else, we have to relearn the art of making do and mending.

Having spent many years acquiring the techniques of geophysical survey, I had developed a certain level of expertise, especially in the use of open source software to carry out analysis of survey data.

A couple of years ago I was approached by a community archaeological project at Hinderwell, nr Whitby. They had acquired a magnetometer and  resistivity meter through grant funding, but despite paying substantial sums for training, had been unable to get consistent and ongoing support  in the techniques of geophysical survey. Now with their funding ending, they were between a rock and a hard place,  instruments worth £20,000, and a lack of expertise in how to use them,  or process the data.

After an initial paid series of workshops, getting them upto speed on survey techniques, and introducing them to Snuffler the open source software, I came to an informal arrangement to offer my ongoing services for free, in return they would allow me the use of their instruments to carry out work on my own site.

The Mid Tees Research Project is a direct result of the generosity of Anthea Ellis and the management team at the Jet Coast Development Trust,  in agreeing me extended use of their equipment, whilst in return I would ensure that their fieldwork group is fully supported in carrying out their own  geophysical research and analysis.

A classic example of quid pro quo, and in my opinion, the only way forward for research archaeology, namely the sharing of scarce resources, whether human or technical.

Happy New Year!!

Welcome to the Mid Tees Research Project website.

Thank you for your patience.

If you have been watching the site over the last year, it has been a long time coming, but we are now at the beginning of the process of populating the website and ironing out the glitches. We have been playing about with the format attempting to come up with a simple and easily accessible style without all the bells and whistles, while remaining informative. We think we have made it as simple and easy to use as possible, but please let us know if there are any annoying elements.

The site can be broken down into basically three sections.

1. The Blog

This is the front page and will be the window into what is going on within the project,  with regular comments and updates about work within the site and information on fieldwork opportunities as they arise, together with news on the work of other amateurs (and professionals)  working in the wider region.

2. Open Archive.

This will be publishing portal for any projects working within the MTRP.  It will also hopefully become the portal for online publication of material from historical  research  carried  in the  Mid Tees Valley that may or may not have been published in hard copy.  In order to disseminate data to the widest possible audience for consideration, we consider it more important that data is made available for research,  even in its raw form,  rather than it remaining  hidden from view for the sake of a controversial crossed ‘T’ or a questionable ‘I’ dotted.

We are not precious about our project, we welcome useful information from wherever it comes, and are happy to give it a platform.  Material will be identified as being published, unpublished though subjected to peer review, or raw research and fieldwork data. If you have done research, found anything interesting, drop me an email and lets’s spread the knowledge.

3. Research Archive.

This archive will be password protected, and be available to  project teams  working independently within the site to co-ordinate their activities.  It will be the repository of a Site Diary, Aerial Photography imagery, mapping and GIS material, LIDAR images, geophysical survey plots and data,  and the rolling results of work in progress.  Temporary access may be given to bona fide researchers from outside the project who establish their credentials.

That’s the basic outline of the site, it may change as we move forward, but hopefully not too much,  please be patient as we  I will try and keep you amused or annoyed with my witterings on the blog.