A TEAM of volunteers from South Tynesiders will be hoping to unearth hidden historical artefacts.
Today and tomorrow, an archaeological excavation will be held on the site of the old Cleadon Mill Farm, north of the mill at Cleadon Hills, South Shields.
It is part of the ongoing Cleadon Village Atlas project, which is aiming to delve into the village’s past, and is open to members of the public.
Penny Middleton from Northern Archaeological Associates, who is in charge of the dig, said: “We hope that people of all ages turn up this weekend to get first-hand experience of the techniques used to investigate an archaeological site.
“You only every get a tiny glimpse of what goes on when you see it on the television on Time Team.
“We hope to show people more of what goes on behind the scenes at a dig, the whole process, from cutting the first turf through to production of the final report.”
Volunteers from the Atlas team have already been helping archaeologists uncover the historic development of the village and chart the development of the site.
Penny added: “Over the past couple of months, we have run landscape and local history surveys and built heritage workshops focusing on the village and the surrounding area.
“I am very grateful to all who have come along to these and shared their knowledge of the area.
“It has provided a wonderful opportunity to pool information and build up a comprehensive picture of the history of the village.
“As a result of this work, we now understand a lot more about the development of the mill and associated farm. I am hoping this weekend’s excavation will provide further dating evidence to help us establish when the farm was founded, and provide material evidence to give us a greater insight into what life in Cleadon was like 200 to 300 years ago.”
The archaeologist said the first concrete evidence of the mill is a recently discovered plan of the site, which dates to 1806 and clearly shows the mill and adjacent farm.
“This was an exciting discovery,” added Penny. “It shows the layout of the farm and mill in the late 18th century and confirms that the present mill was rebuilt on the site of an earlier structure.”
The owner of the mill and farm in 1806 was George Forster, an Alderman of Newcastle. It was worked by the miller, Peter Watson.
All are welcome to join in the excavation from 10am to 4pm.
Those joining in should take gloves and a mat to kneel on if required. All other tools will be provided. For details, call 375 0943 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.