ICE AND FIRE 2017 | Awards, Explorers and Lasers

Hello ICE & FIRE team members, here’s the latest news roundup!

ICE & FIRE shortlisted for 2017 Community Archaeology Award

Excerpt from British Archaeology magazine No. 157 | © Council for British Archaeology.

We’re absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for the Community Project category in this year’s Marsh Archaeology Awards, with results to be announced at the Council for British Archaeology’s AGM on November 6th in London. There are two other contenders in this category, both based in Wales. We wish all the candidates the very best of luck!

Other categories include Young Archaeologist of the Year and Community Archaeologist of the Year. Team member Spencer Carter will be attending the archaeology day on behalf of the project. We’re extremely grateful to Dr David Petts, Assistant Professor at Durham University Archaeology, for hosting our nomination.


Adam visits the Durham Archaeology Explorers Club

On Saturday 7 October, project director Adam Mead visited the archaeological club at Durham University’s Oriental Museum to talk about the project and show some of the finds from this year’s fieldwork. One of the items, shaped like an axe but without a sharp cutting end, might actually be a pecking tool used to create rock art motifs like cup and ring marks. More analysis will take place to test this possibility, noting similar recent finds in Wales.

Durham Archaeology Explorers aims to engage with children aged 7–11 years to inspire a lifelong interest in, and respect for, archaeology and the people of the past. DAX aims to explore both local and world archaeology:


Lasers at the ready!

One of our flint tools from earlier fieldwork has made its way to Oxford University’s Earth Sciences Department where doctoral candidate Tom Elliot is using laser technology to analyse the chemical composition of flint artefacts.

Tom’s research aims to establish whether links can be made between the primary stratigraphic deposits – flint occurs in or is derived from chalk geology formed in oceans millions of years ago – and the locations where artefacts are found. This can give us clues about human mobility in the past, from preferred sources of flint to the locations where tools were manufactured, and ultimately deposited. The analysis technique is called laser ablation which removes a minute sample from the material and so is non-destructive.

Our artefact is an impressive late Neolithic oblique ripple-flaked arrowhead. Although it is damaged, missing its tip and long tail, it is of particularly fine workmanship closer to that encountered in East Yorkshire and East Anglia. Indeed, was it purely a functional arrowhead or something prized by its owner?

We eagerly await the results! Incidentally, Tom, who is studying at the University of Worcester, is also a keen and brave caving fanatic (speleologist). Some of his work has involved being supported by a harness and descending chalk cliff faces.


– ICE AND FIRE Project Team