Archaeologists lead dig on lost Dartmoor manor

Archaeological dig to look for old manor houseFrom Monday 27 June until Saturday 2 July 2016 archaeologists will be returning to the site of North Hall Manor in Widecombe-in-the-Moor to continue investigations into this intriguing site.

This will be the third season of excavation. The first phase in 2012 targeted the medieval manor site and revealed wall footings, boundary works and pottery that strongly suggest a high status medieval building once stood in the area.

The excavation this year will continue to investigate some of the features unearthed in previous digs with the hope of finding out more about their age and use.

The excavation is very much a community project and local volunteers will be undertaking the majority of the excavation works closely supervised by professional archaeologists. Local school groups will also be visiting the site and lending a hand. Last year we had over 100 local school children visit to learn more about their medieval heritage.

The public are invited to come along and discover what has been found at the site on an open day to be held on Saturday 2 July from 10:30 to 16:00. There will be site tours, family activities, displays and a chance to see what has been found.

Andy Crabb, Archaeologist, Dartmoor National Park said:
‘The team are very excited to continue the community excavation at North Hall later this month. With a week of digging to look forward too we hope, with our eager local volunteers, we will shed more light on the features we started to unearth last year which include a stone building, evidence for wooden structures, a moat, as well as some intriguing features that appeared on an aerial photograph.’

This series of excavations is the culmination of many years of research undertaken by local historian Peter Rennells into the location of the Medieval Manor of North Hall and would not have been possible without his dedication and determination. The excavation is organised by Dartmoor National Park and funded by the Heritage Lottery Funded scheme,  Moor than meets the eye which is helping people to discover the Dartmoor Story.

Related Articles

Study group visit Headland Warren

Fourteen members of the study group met at Headland Warren on a spectacularly clear and sunny day for a guided walk around Headland Warren and it’s surrounds. The group was led by Lee Bray, Archaeologist, Dartmoor National Park Authority and the although the main focus of the walk was to look for evidence of medieval tin mining, the group viewed a wide variety of archaeological features such as pillow mounds, ancient vermin traps, mining remains from across history and even a stone row! The Whortleberries were in full flavour and delayed progress slightly but a good walk and an interesting time was had by all. If you would like to find out about forthcoming fieldtrips as part of the Moor Medieval Study Group, please contact Community Heritage Officer, Emma Stockley and ask to be put on the mailing list.

Read more

Trowels, toothbrushes and tiles - an archaeological test pit training day in Bovey Tracey

On a beautiful, sunny day in April, members of the Moor Medieval Study Group gathered in Bovey Tracey for an archaeological test pit training event. The day, part of the Moor than meets the eye Moor Medieval project, led by Historic Buildings Officer Keith McKay, took place in a garden in Bovey Tracey, thought to contain the remains of a Medieval building.A test pit is a small-scale archaeological excavation, usually consisting of a 1m by 1m square trench. Groups of test pits are used to sample the range of artefacts present in the topsoil across an area. Each pit is dug methodically in ‘spits’ or layers around 10 cm deep with the finds from each layer being kept separate and carefully recorded. Comparing the results of multiple test pits can indicate the type of archaeology which may lie buried beneath the soil. Programmes of test pits can be combined with historical research or different types of field survey to provide a powerful tool for the investigation of the past enabling archaeologists and historians to understand the development of sites, hone research questions and target future work more effectively. Dr Lee Bray, National Park archaeologist started the day’s training by explaining how to set up a test pit, remove and store turf, and excavate in spits. Due to the large group size, four test pits were opened in various locations around the garden and orchard and digging began in earnest.

Read more

Moor Medieval Lending Library open for business!

Community Heritage Officer, Emma Stockley has set up a Moor Medieval Lending Library, largely due to generous donations of books from study group members. There are a number of books relating to all aspects of medieval Dartmoor as well as some general texts on archaeology, landscape and historic buildings. There is also a small reserve collection including;The Place Names of Devon, Vol VIII Part 1 – English Place Name Society, The Place Names of Devon, Part 2 – English Place Name Society, Domesday Book Devon Part One – General Editor: John Morris, Domesday Book Devon Part Two – General Editor: John Morris, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities Volume 1 – The East – Jeremy Butler , Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities Volume 2 – The North – Jeremy Butler, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities Volume 3 – The South West – Jeremy Butler, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities Volume 4 – The South East – Jeremy Butler, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities Volume 5 – The Second Millennium BC – Jeremy Butler. The books are housed at our Princetown office but arrangements can be made to deliver them to Parke. If anyone would like to borrow a book or make an enquiry, please contact Emma directly or call 01822 890 904.

Read more

Last update: 17 Jun 2016 12:27pm