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ALSF Aggregate Extraction In The Kirkham Area. Project Design

Quartermaine, Jamie (2007) ALSF Aggregate Extraction In The Kirkham Area. Project Design. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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In April 2005 English Heritage commissioned Oxford Archaeology North (OA North) and the Department of Geography, Liverpool University, to undertake a programme of investigation into the potential impact of sand and gravel mineral aggregate extraction on the archaeological resource of the Ribble Valley, in Lancashire and North Yorkshire. With the exhaustion of some substantial mineral extraction sites around Preston, there is potential for the establishment of new sites, which would have an inevitable impact upon the known and yet to be identified archaeology of the area. The original study examined the high-pressure area for sand and gravel extraction in the Ribble Valley, but it also estimated the mineral aggregate resource base within the wider region to understand the character of the known resource.
The original project was designed building on groundwork by Jennie Stopford (EH), developing the original brief and building links with Lancashire County Council and the Environment Agency. The Project Design also benefited from discussions with Peter Iles, Lancashire County Archaeologist, Dr Susan Stallibrass, English Heritage Scientific Advisor for the North West, and EH personnel (OA North and Liverpool University 2005). This provided for two study areas in the Lower Ribble Valley and the Upper Ribble. The Lower Ribble study area, between Preston and Sawley, was a known area of soft aggregate extraction and had considerable potential for the expansion of the industry to exploit new reserves. The Upper Ribble area, between Settle and Hellifield, had been identified as an additional potential resource of soft aggregate and as such had the potential for exploitation.
A key outcome from the original project was the recognition of additional areas of potential aggregate extraction within and around the study areas, and in particular two areas were identified as priorities for subsequent study~ the Kirkham end moraine and the Craven Lowlands. The programme of research undertaken during the original Ribble ALSF project developed methodologies and datasets that make important contributions to the disciplines of archaeology, geomorphology and Quaternary Science. The original research programme has provided a considerable need for publication targeting both academic and lay audiences. The publication programme is a key component and is outlined in this project design. The additional areas proposed for study have equal justification because both have long histories of aggregate extraction, contain current or recent planning applications and are targeted areas of search in both counties (pers. comm. Yorkshire County Council Minerals Officer; Entec, 2005; Geoplan 2006). In the context of a coherent research design targeting the Kirkham moraine in the first instance makes strategic sense for a number of reasons: overlap in terms of mineral type (sand and gravel) with the original Ribble contract, relevance and contribution to items in the publication programme; and the landbank status for sand and gravel aggregate is more pressing than that for solid aggregates in either county. Consequently the new research component of this project design focuses on sand and gravel mineral extraction in the Kirkham area, but uses a modified study area outline that reflects the true extent of deposit rather than the arbitrary outlines defined in the Entec and Geoplan reports and the programme of work will enhance understanding of the distribution of workable mineral. It is important iterate that the focus on sand and gravel mineral deposits does not denude the value of future work in the Craven Lowlands, but with the time constraints of the current ALSF round Kirkham is a more pressing concern.
Kirkham End Moraine: assessment of the Kirkham End Moraine complex (NGR SD 420 320) (Fig 1) shows that the area has considerable potential for usable mineral, but at present our knowledge of the mineral resource is poor. The improved understanding of the deglacial history arising from the original project can be used to inform future
sand and gravel investigation within the county; identifying ice-marginal settings, glaciofluvial or lake-edge glaciolacustrine environments around the Lower Ribble glacial lake, should highlight excellent candidate locations for good-quality aggregate. Geomorphological interpretation linked to the available borehole and section evidence would improve an understanding of the distribution of minerals within the moraine complex. Clearly, the Kirkham moraine is an Area of Search that would benefit from detailed investigation of the geomorphology and Quaternary geology. However, the extent and nature of the aggregate is poorly constrained within earlier reports (eg Geoplan Ltd 2006), although the area has been the subject of three planning applications and sustained mineral aggregate extraction in the last 20 years. One of the main constraints is that the geomorphology of the region is poorly understood and, given the ice marginal context, proximity to the edges of major ice streams and association with the Ribble ice-dammed lake, considerably more could be achieved through a programme of geomorphological research.
Apart from limited fieldwork during the English Heritage-funded North West Wetlands Survey, the area has been subject to relatively little archaeological work, and the HER for this area is consequently limited. However, the limited investigations undertaken suggest that the area has a rich archaeological resource. The moraine lies to the south of the extensive Fylde wetlands, and settlement activity seems to have been concentrated on these better drained areas. It therefore has a relatively high density of archaeological remains from all periods; in particular, the area has been described as ‘one of the most dense areas of Neolithic and Bronze Age activity in the North West’ (Middleton 1996, 96). A series of Roman camps, culminating in a stonebuilt fort of the second century, attest to a Roman military presence to the west of Preston (Howard-Davis and Buxton 2000), which was linked to Ribchester and Walton-le-Dale by a network of roads. The extent to which the extensive wetlands acted as a block to settlement in the medieval period is difficult to assess; however, the one principal town in the area developed on the moraine at Kirkham and there is a
concentration of medieval settlement to the south of the Fylde wetlands. Palaeoenvironmental research in the area has been limited so far to the work undertaken as part of the North West Wetlands Survey, and Tooley’s work (1978) on sea-level change.
The project proposed below would extend the study area of the Ribble Valley ALSF Aggregate Extraction project to encompass (1) the Lancashire County Council Minerals Plan Areas of Search within the Kirkham End Moraine region (Fig 1).
The work programme presented differs from a previously submitted variation (OA North and Liverpool University 2006), in that it is tightly focused on a relatively small area identified as containing significant potential resources for mineral aggregate, which were beyond the scope of the original project. The work programme is also achievable within an eight month timeframe, as a result of benefits gained from the original project, such as the completion of an agreed and compatible database structure. This project design is presented in accordance with English Heritage’s guidelines for Management of Archaeological Projects (MAP 2) (English Heritage 1991).

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Lancashire
Depositing User: barker
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2022 12:57
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2022 12:57
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6774

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