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Keekle Head Open Cast Coal Site, Cumbria. Assessment Report

Newman, Caron and Scott, Ian (1998) Keekle Head Open Cast Coal Site, Cumbria. Assessment Report. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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An archaeological assessment was carried out in advance of a proposed opencast coal scheme (centred on NGR NY 034216) at Keekle Head, in West Cumbria. The work was undertaken by the Lancaster University Archaeological Unit on behalf of Roxylight Agricultural Land (Cumbria) Ltd. The study area consists of an area of enclosed pasture land straddling the parish boundary between Arlecdon and Distington, and comprised a desk-based study, compiling data from the Cumbria Sites and Monuments Record and the Cumbria Record Offices in Whitehaven, as well as a rapid identification survey.
The moorland was enclosed in the late eighteenth century in Distington, but was mostly enclosed at an earlier date in Arlecdon. There are records which shows that some coal mining, on a small scale, had taken place from before 1700 in Distington, although, it was only in the nineteenth century that mining was undertaken there as a commercial venture. The main pit, called Venture pit, was in existence for only 13 years, between 1852 and 1865. The origins of the other pits are not known, but at lease two were in operation in the midnineteenth century.
The Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) contained four sites within the study area, including ridge and furrow (SMR 16632: Site 25) and the remains of three coal mining sites (SMR 11700 (Site 24), 11701 (Site 22) and 11705 (Site 1)). The assessment area also contains two settlement sites, Sandbeds and Green Spot, which are shown on the Ordnance Survey 1st edition maps of 1863 and 1865. Sandbeds appears to have been in existence in 1822, when it is shown on the enclosure map (CROW YDX/111/54); but this map does not extend to the area of Green Spot farm.
In addition to the documentary study, the identification survey identified a further eighteen features within the study area. Of these the majority relate to mining activity associated with a vein which was aligned north-west/south-east in an area to the north of Green Spot farm. These mine workings reflect a period of activity from small scale extractions of the eighteenth century to larger scale commercial mining centred around the Venture Pit during the nineteenth century.
The survey involved a more detailed assessment of the two farms, Sandbeds and Green Spot, and involved the examination of both the external fabric of the farm buildings and their interiors in order to assess the archaeological survival and architectural significance of the buildings. Both farmhouses have a 'double-pile' plan form, which typically dates to between the mid eighteenth and the mid nineteenth centuries.
It is recommended that a programme of archaeological evaluation be undertaken, and would be targeted on areas of potential identified by the present assessment. It is also recommended that a mitigation record is produced of the surface features and the farms. The landscape survey should examine Sites 4, 8, 9-20, 22 and 24. The fabric survey should the generation of ground plans in conjunction with a photographic survey. The trial trenching is recommended to examine areas where there is the greatest sub-surface potential and also investigate documented sites where there is no longer a surface expression. It is recommended that the following sites be subject to evaluation trenching: Site 01, 02, 03, 04, 9-20, 23 and 24.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Cumbria
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Depositing User: barker
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2022 12:02
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2022 12:02
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6754

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