Sunday, 7 October 2012

retrospective holiday diary day 4: archaeology

Sunday 23 September was still fine, so we finished off the planned archaeology.

The Maelmin Heritage trial was, frankly, a bit of a disappointment (the free booklet available from the nearby information centre in Milfield village is much better). The trail starts with the best bit: a full scale reconstruction of the nearby Milfield North henge (the “henge” being the ditch and bank earthwork, not the wooden posts).

A reconstruction of Milfield North henge.  
 My shot unfortunately just clips the right hand entry post and its carvings: 
a feature of using a smart phone in bright sunlight and 
not being able to see the screen well enough.
Then came a rather short walk round a field containing a reconstructed Dark Ages house, and (the remains of) a reconstructed mesolithic sunken round hut.

The traffic noise from the nearby road during this walk made the silence of the previous day’s Neolithic rock art even more precious.

Next we drove to Yeavering Bell hill fort (incorporating a scenic but unplanned detour, having turned the wrong way out of Milford, and not noticed for a few miles). After looking up at it and estimating it would probably take us about five hours to get to the top and back down again, and noting that we weren’t equipped for that (either in kit, or physically!), we admired it from the bottom.  Google maps have a great view from the air.

So we moved on to “Duddo Four Stones”, which involved just a one hour round-trip walking up from the road. Despite its name, it has five large stones (one stone was re-erected after the site had been named in the 19th Century, and some now use the newer name of "Duddo Five Stones", but that's boring), and there were originally seven.

The stones are easily visible on the horizon, but the path takes a detour around the edge of the fields.
The sign says “Please keep to the footpath”. That’s the footpath, ploughed up, under water. On the way to the circle I tried to keep off the field, along the fence, but it was very slippery, and I went ankle deep into the water (much to the disgust of my 3-day old shoes!). On the way back, I walked round the other, more accessible, side of the puddle.
Duddo Four Stones. Count 'em.
The afternoon was taken up with a pleasant drive around the edge of the Northumberland National Park, down to our final B&B. We stopped off to have a look at a bit of Hadrian’s Wall, with a plan to see more later.  (I am informed by the archaeologist in the party that Hadrian's Wall doesn't count as archaeology: it has a date from contemporary records, so it's history.)

Hadrian’s Wall, with sentry post
 Also, goodbye sunshine, for the next couple of days.

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