The Swaledale Big Dig

Swaledale Big Dig is uncovering and recording the archaeology and history of the local settlements of Grinton and Reeth.

The project is currently training volunteers and school children in archaeological techniques, taking part in their own digs and producing information about the discoveries.

Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group (SWAAG) is a local community archaeology group with over 40 members committed to investigating and inspiring people about the history, heritage and environment of the area. The area traces its history back to at least the Anglo-Saxon period but there was previously limited information available.

The project is also training the local community in desk-based research, geophysical and archaeological surveys and conducting a series of digs in the local area. Working with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and the Historic Environment Record, it also ensures that the information is gathered to a high standard and entered onto national databases, as well as using print and digital media to inform people of developments. The project is also helping to enhance local understanding of the history of the dale for a period with few historical sources, and is capitalising on current public interests in archaeology.

Alan Mills, of SWAAG, revealed:

“The greatest success and perhaps the most long-lasting has been our work with schools. The pupils have shown a tremendous interest and enthusiasm for a wide range of activities they have engaged with, including digging test pits, geophysical survey, interpreting vernacular buildings and local lead mining sites.”


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