Category Archives: Lectures

The Rise and Fall of the Late Iron Age Royal Centre at Stanwick ( Elgee Memorial Lecture)

On Saturday the 5th December 2015, the Teesside Archaeological Society hosts the annual Elgee Memorial lecture at the Dorman Museum, Middlesbrough  between 1000 and 1200. A registration link is available at the bottom of this post.

“The Rise and Fall of the Late Iron Age Royal Centre at Stanwick, North Yorkshire with Professor Colin Haselgrove (University of Leicester).

The enormous earthwork complex at Stanwick, west of Darlington—enclosing nearly three square kilometres—is the largest continuous prehistoric fortification in Britain, comparable to some of the most important late Age settlements in continental Europe.

In this lecture Professor Haselgrove will present new interpretations based upon excavations by Durham University in the 1980’s and research that has taken place over the past 25 years. Radiocarbon dating shows that Stanwick was occupied from the early 1st century BC. The early settlement differed little from others in the Tees valley, but soon after 50 BC, the site was reorganised and fortified, and successive monumental timber structures were built. Imports from other parts of Britain and the continent imply that well before the Roman invasion, Stanwick had attained a similar level of importance to known royal centres elsewhere in Britain and Ireland.

Soon after in AD 43, Cartimandua, the ruler of the Brigantes, entered into a treaty with the invaders. Many unusual Roman goods dating to this period recovered in the excavations must have been gifts showered on the queen, whose residence Stanwick surely was, and the massive perimeter earthwork was constructed in a display of her prestige. However, her rule over the Brigantes did not last. In AD 69, after a rebellion led by Venutius, her estranged consort, Cartimandua sought the protection of the Romans. They quickly set about the permanent conquest of the region—and Stanwick was abandoned.

As well as illuminating the social and political dynamics of the period, the research has cast new light on the everyday lives of the Iron Age inhabitants of the Tees Valley and their ritual and mortuary practices, some of which were continued by the agricultural population of the area in the Roman period. ”

Dorman Museum – Linthorpe Road  Middlesbrough,”

Rural Settlement in Roman Yorkshire Conference thoughts!!

I attended the above conference at the Milton Rooms in Malton last Saturday, organised by the Roman Antiquities Section of the Yorkshire Archaeologial Society and The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies (The Roman Society)

It has to be stated that the conference was to some degree spoilt by the woeful quality of the PA system which seemed to consist of a couple of speakers from somebodies old HiFi that couldn’t deal with the output of the amplifier, an amplifier that spent most of the day either on the verge of distortion, or doing a Norman Collier impression by clipping the output,  fronted by what seemed like an oki koki 3000 microphone nicked from a  chidrens karaoke machine with awful frequency response.

Most of the speakers were to some degree affected by the quality of the PA, at least one had their talk ruined in my opinion,  only the predictably loud Dominic Powlesland  abandoned it all together and went vocally commando to do his talk on West Heslerton that replaced the original talk on the Aiskew villa. . Surely it is not beyond the wit of organisations where public speaking is at the core of their function, to either pick a venue with decent sound equipment, or spend a few quid to buy a portable system themselves.

It was encouraging that two of the talks were from amateur groups working in Yorkshire. The Roman Roads project was presented by Mike Haken who came up with some interesting ideas regarding settlement along the major routes, and the Swaledale & Arkenga thdale Archeaology Group(SWAAG) presented an interesting talk on their work in their valley.   Steve Sherlock gave a talk on the A1/Catterick road improvements,  Steve had  that much to talk about that the 30 mins slot was just not enough. Archaeology on another scale!

Prof Martin Millet and Dr Peter Halkon both gave their usual professional and interesting talks about their  work in East Yorkshire.

Dr Pete Wilson gave a talk on behalf of  Dr Martyn Allen on  data syntheses from the national Roman Rural Settlement project, aimed at collating and analysing developer funded projects since the advent of PPG16 legislation around 1990.
Although all of these developer interventions are recorded on the HER, few have been formally published, strangely the cut off point for this work was indicated as being 2004, and seemingly excludes anything that is not developer funded,  which in effect makes the work already 11 years out of date, and incomplete.
This built in obsolescence was exampled when Pete presented a map of the various types of Roman settlement, where the evidence for  the extent of the Roman villa landscape  appeared to be that from pre- 1995 with Holme House at Piercebridge being the only ‘villa’ indicated in the Tees Valley. It does question the validity of the research if the Dalton on Tees  and Quarry Farm ingleby Barwick  villas, both research led investigations, and both on the national monument record since before 2004 are absent.
One would presume if you are calling a data synthesis project Roman Rural Settlement, that it would record all Roman Rural Roman settlement , and not just Roman Rural Settlement that conforms to an abstract project design. The key is in the title, Roman+ Rural + Settlement.
Interesting conference though also bumped into one of my old tutors Professor Jenny Price.

Rural Settlement in Roman Yorkshire.

For those of you looking for something to do  with  the nights  drawing  in, there is an interesting all day conference in Malton on  Saturday the 24th October 2015

I am advised by Jill Wilson there are still tickets available for the conference. If anybody is interested  either contact her, and she will send you the editable booking  form I have posted , or if it suits, just cut and paste the one below  into a word document, fill it in and return to her. You then pay the £12 entry for non members on the door, there is also a lunch booking form for those who don’t want to sample the delights of Malton hostelries.

Joint conference sponsored by the Roman Antiquities Section (YAS) and The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies (The Roman Society) The Milton Rooms, Market Square, Malton YO17 7LX
Saturday 24th October 2015

9.30am Coffee and Registration
10am Dr Martyn Allen – Rural settlement across Roman Yorkshire:
data syntheses from the Roman Rural Settlement project

10.30am Dr Clive Waddington – A neglected frontier: results from preliminary excavations on a high status settlement on the Brigantian-Roman frontier

11am Dr Peter Halkon – Roman impact on the landscape of the Foulness valley and the western escarpment of the Yorkshire Wolds

11.30am Professor Martin Millett – Across Wold and Vale: new evidence for the dynamics of Roman rural settlement

12-1.30 Lunch
1.30pm Dr Steve Sherlock – The Landscape between Cataractonium and Scotch Corner
2pm Ian Roberts – The Other Side of the Vale: The Magnesian Limestone in the Later Iron Age and Roman Period

2.30pm Peter Denison-Edson – Romano-British settlement patterns in Swaledale: answers and questions, with particular reference to 4th-century material culture
3pm Coffee

3.30pm Mike Haken and Hugh Toller – Lines in the landscape: Roman roads and rural settlement
4pm Nansi Rosenburg – The Aiskew Roman villa**
4.30pm Discussion
5pm Conference ends ** title to be confirmed
Tea and coffee will be provided.

Contact: or 01944 738282
Booking Form
Tickets: £12
£10 for Roman Antiquities Section (RAS) and Roman Society members
(Sponsored places are available for the first 10 Roman Society members to book)

Please book…… place/s for the Rural Settlement in Roman Yorkshire Conference
Member: RAS/Roman Society (please delete as appropriate)



I enclose payment of £……
Cheques should be made payable to ‘Roman Antiquities Section’ or payment can be made directly to the RAS account: account number 30992461, sort code 20 48 46 using as the reference your name and adding ‘conf’.
Please return this booking form (along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope or your email address to receive booking confirmation) to:
RAS, Rarey Farm, Weaverthorpe, Malton YO17 8EY