Bid to uncover secrets of medieval metal workers

Volunteers Emma Smith, left, of Halifax, and Beatrice Greenfield, of Sheffield, lay down a grid before surveying work starts at Cawthorne Park Woodlands. Pictures: Chris  Lawton.
Volunteers Emma Smith, left, of Halifax, and Beatrice Greenfield, of Sheffield, lay down a grid before surveying work starts at Cawthorne Park Woodlands. Pictures: Chris Lawton.
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Woodland which is believed to have been home to a community of metal workers in the 12th and 13th centuries is the focus of a new project which aims to uncover the secrets of its past.

The 265-acre Cawthorne Park Woodlands near Cawthorne, Barnsley, is privately owned, but it is hoped that people will be encouraged to visit it and help archaeologists in the first-ever dig on the site.

Experts have already found evidence of large slag heaps and bell pits on the site, which are thought to be evidence of iron smelting and the making of metal weapons.

The project is being led by the Woodland Outreach Learning Foundation (Wolf) with the help of Dr Roger Doonan, from Sheffield University’s department of archaeology, and Heeley City Farm, where several volunteer digs have already taken place.

Lindsey Bielby from Wolf said: “The surveying is really trying to link community with local history, so finding out what happened in Cawthorne Park Woodlands many centuries ago is a joint venture between professionals and public.

“The public will learn survey and archaeology skills and the archaeologists will collect data and interpret the information.”

Anyone interested in taking part in the project should call Ms Bielby on 07738156217 or email lindsey_bielby@talk21.com