GM Festival 2018 – New Events Added

GMFest18_Flyer1.pub21 June marks the start of the 2018 Greater Manchester Archaeology Festival. Today we are releasing another three festival events in Manchester, Stockport, and Trafford. The Festival runs from 21 June to 24 June (main 2018 booking page link is at the top of this page). All events are free and are organised by the archaeology societies and heritage groups exploring Greater Manchester’s past. The new events are listed below with links to the Eventbrite booking webpages. Scroll down and choose a link for booking.

Trafford: Warburton Graveyard Survey (Thursday 21 June)

Manchester: Bellhouse Walk (Friday 22 June)

Stockport: Scholes Park Archaeology Drop-in (Saturday 23 June)




GM Festival Events 2018

GMFest18_Flyer1.pubThe 2018 Greater Manchester Archaeology Festival is almost here! Today we are releasing the first batch of eight events across seven boroughs of the Manchester city region for Thursday 21 to Sunday 24 June. As in 2017 all events are free. The events are listed below with links to the Eventbrite booking webpages. Scroll down and chose a link for booking.

GM Archaeology Fest 18: Launch Event & Telecommunications Lecture ‘The K8 – 50th Anniversary of Britain’s last red phonebox’

Centre for Applied Archaeology, Peel Building basement
Thursday 21st June, 4pm to 6pm, 50 free places

Launch event for the Greater Manchester Archaeology Festival 2018. Prof Nigel Linge of the University of Salford will kick-off the Festival with a talk on ‘The K8 – the 50th Anniversary of Britain’s last red phonebox’. A chance to mingle with fellow archaeology enthusiasts and hear about the exciting events available over the four days of the Festival. The will be books and displays on view.

Manchester’s Communications Archaeology Walk

Dr Michael Nevell & Prof Nigel Linge
Friday 22 June, 11am to 2pm, 20 free places

This three-hour tour of Manchester’s communications archaeology from the 18th to the 20th century starts at Victoria Station and finishes at Piccadilly Station. Along the way we shall explore Manchester’s early waterfronts along Water Street, Liverpool Road Railway Station opened in 1830, Castlefield Canal basin and the Bridgewater Canal (opened here in 1763), the Rochadale Canal, and the Princess Street warehouse district and Manchester telecommunications history (scattered long our near circular route, much of hidden in sight!). This is mostly along pavements so good footware is advised. There will be handouts.

Wigan: Brimlow Roman Road Dig

Wigan Archaeology Society
Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd June, 10am to 4pm

This year Wigan are inviting volunteers to help them have another look at the Roman road they discovered in 2004 (i.e. the road from Wigan to Walton-le-Dale). In 2016 WAS carried out a GPR Survey on this road, which is just north of Wigan, to test if this type of survey could detect the road where resistivity had consistently failed. The survey was a success showing clear indications of the road running south from or previous excavations. It also revealed other linear features which they thought they should investigate. Two days are available i.e. Friday and Saturday, with places for six volunteers per day.

Meet at Brimelow Farm. Parking on Gidlow Lane. WN6 8RT.

For further details about Wigan Archaeology Society see:

Bolton: Hall I’th’Wood History Day

Bolton Archaeology and Egyptology Society, 10am – 4pm (tours at 12pm and 2pm), 40 free places
Saturday 23rd June,

Join Bolton Archaeology and Egyptology Society for an exploration of the History of Hall I’th’Wood, Bolton. Get involved with geophysics as the group survey the lawns, take a guided tour through the hall’s history including access into the hidden attics, families can get involved in craft activities in the Great Hall from 12pm until 3pm.

Suitable for ages 5 to adult. Guided tours will take place at 12pm and 2pm with a maximum of 15 spaces on each (first come first serve), suitable footwear must be worn.

Bury: Walls and Boundaries in the Holcombe Valley

Holcombe Moor Heritage Group, 1pm to 4pm
Saturday 24th June

Holcombe Moor Heritage Group are holding a guided walk in the Holcombe Valley to show the variety of walls and boundaries in the local area. The walk is not suitable for wheelchair users. Participants should be comfortable walking up and down varied terrain (4.5 miles) for at least 3 hours. Please come prepared for hiking and for inclement weather.

Starting at 1300 hours on Saturday 23rd June 2018 from the car park on Lumb Carr Road (B6214), 0.6 miles up the hill after the Hare & Hounds pub (postcode BL0 9RY) in Holcombe Brook.

Tameside: Tameside Local History Forum History & Archaeology Day

Tameside Local History Forum and The Together Centre
Saturday 24th June

Exhibitions from Dukinfield Old Hall Chapel, Old Chapel Dukinfield, Newton Hall, Gorse Hall, Globe Lane Pals, The Moravian Settlement and Museum. Cheshire Family History Society, and The Forums ‘Extraordinary Women’ , plus many more local groups.

  • Tameside Archaeology Society will be giving a talk on their recent projects at approx. 11am.
  • Gay Oliver will be talking about Kate Bradbury Egyptologist of Riversvale Hall at approx. 1pm

Also joining us will be Landy Publishing’s Bob Dobson, a favourate for book collectors. Refreshments available. Everyone welcome.

Oldham: Castleshaw Roman Forts Tours

Friends of Castleshaw Roman Forts, 11am to 4pm
Sunday 24th June

The Friends of Castleshaw Roman Forts will be conducting two guided tours to the Roman Forts site. These will take place at 11am and 2pm on Sunday 24th June. Each tour will last about 2 hours. Meet at the public car park on Waterworks Road, adjacent to the Castleshaw Centre near Delph. Stout footwear required and there is a fairly step ascent to the Roman Forts site. The tour will explain the earthwork remains of the forts and the history of excavation that allows us to understand the Agricolan fort of  AD 79 and its replacement by a much small fortlet in around AD 105. There will be an opportunity to see archaeologists from the Friends undertaking exploratory excavations outside the fort’s eastern defences, as well as geophysical survey.

Further details about the Friends of Castleshaw Roman Forts can be found here:

Trafford: Roman Pottery Workshop

South Trafford Archaeological Group, 1pm to 4pm
Sunday 24th June

A chance to get ‘Hands On’ and find out more about some real Roman pottery from the Roman fort and vicus at Northwich in Cheshire, excavated by STAG from 1987 to 1990. There will be a presentation based on the excavation of a site in Weaver Street, Northwich, Cheshire followed by handling and looking at Roman finds from the site. You will get an opportunity to identify and learn how to archaeologically conserve this type of Roman pottery.

For more details about the South Trafford Archaeological Group see:

Greater Manchester’s Past Revealed: First Six Issues now Available to Download

GMPR_cover_vol1As a New Year treat we have made available for download, free, the first six issues of the award winning Greater Manchester’s Past Revealed popular archaeology series.

These volumes cover ‘Piccadilly Place’ (2010); ‘The Triangle, Bury’ (2011); ‘Discovering Coccium’ (2011); ‘Rediscovering Bradford’ (2011); ‘Slices Through Time’ (2012); and ‘An Industrial Art’ (2012).

They can be downloaded from our new Publications page on this blog.

DGM Archaeology Festival: Hunting for Ancient Graffiti

Ordsall Hall May 2012 WEA visit (12)

The late medieval Ordsall Hall – still giving up its secrets


The first Dig Greater Manchester Archaeology Festival in June 2017 had two events linked to the comparatively new research area of medieval and later graffiti. Such research looks at mysterious marks on historic buildings such as circles, daisy wheels, crossed ‘V’s, lines grouped in threes, and many other devices.


In the last decade renewed focus on these ancient marks in the late medieval churches of East Anglia has led to a recognition that such graffiti and protection marks are far more common than previously thought. Sometimes they cluster around the location of old alters but are usually found by doorways and windows. Importantly, such marks provide an alternative way of look at the beliefs and worries of ordinary people in otherwise more formal and controlled spaces.

Recent research is now focusing on domestic buildings and in the North West the timber structures of the 14th to 18th centuries are proving a fruitful source of evidence. The Greater Manchester Graffiti Survey team have been studying a variety of timber-framed halls across Manchester with some surprising results. Ordsall Hall in Salford, for instance, is covered in dozens of protection marks such as circles, but especially taper burns, which leave a burn mark in the shape of an elongated leaf. Indeed, this appears to be the most common form of mark found on the timber-framed buildings of the region. Intriguingly, leaving a the cross by or above doorways using the ashes from Ash Wednesday is still a feature of Greek Orthodox ritual at Easter time.

The Greater Manchester Graffiti Survey team continued their exploration of Ordsall Hall for the festival. Ordsall is one of the hidden gems of northern England’s medieval archaeology: a moated manor house set within the industrial and urban sprawl of late 19th and 20th century Salford that survives with its 14th century solar wing, early 16th century great hall and mid-17th century brick wing. The cross-passage and servant’s wings have yielded dozens of taper burns.

Hall i'th' Wood 20

Hall i’ th’ Wood, Bolton

The Bolton Archaeological and Eqyptology Society ( continued their exploration of Hall i’ th’ Wood on the Saturday of the festival. This research began earlier in 2017 and once more taper burns feature as an important part of the protection and graffiti marks observed. Yet recently they have discovered taper burns on some of the contemporary furniture  in the hall (though much is not from Hall i’ th’ Wood itself). This has also been noted on the Tudor bed at Ordsall Hall, which was commissioned by the Radcliffe family for that very building.


DGM Archaeology Festival: The Historic Pubs of Altrincham


The Old Market Tavern, formerly the Unicorn PH, Altrincham Old Market Place

The first ever Dig Greater Manchester Archaeology Festival has 17 FREE events to choose from. The festival kicked off on Thursday 22 June with a tour of the historic pubs of Altrincham run by the South Trafford Archaeology Group (


The walk is based on the inns, taverns and public houses mentioned in Pigot & Co.’s Commercial Directory of 1822-1823 for Altrincham, before the character of the town and the location of its commercial centre were altered by the arrival of the railway in 1849. Meeting outside the Orange Tree in the Old Market Place (WA14 4DE) at 6pm the two hour tour will take in, amongst other pub sites, the Unicorn (the former town hall of 1849), the Axe and Cleaver (late 18th century), the Wheatsheaf (late 18th or early 19th century), and the Orange Tree, which contains timber-framing from the 16th and early 17th centuries.

Altrincham was given its charter as a market borough in 1290. This market town sits on the northern flank of Bowdon Hill, with the market place terraced into the hillside. Even today the building plots surrounding the old market place reflect the long, narrow, burgages of the late medieval town. Although the placename suggests a late Saxon origin nothing earlier that 14th century has been found. However, Saxon activity was excavated on the site of Timperley Old Hall, roughly 1km to the east, by STAG in the 1990s.

Minolta DSC

Excavation behind No 6 Old market Place, Altrincham by UMAU in 2004

STAG have been investigating the Old Market Place since the early 1980s, when they undertook test pitting with GMAU in the town fields to the north-west. In the mid-1984s a late medieval corn drying kiln was excavated off Victoria Street. During the 1990s watching brief work revealed medieval rubbish pits behind the buildings on Market Street, whilst a building survey with the local WEA class recorded half a dozen timber-framed buildings. In the 2000s, a developer-funded excavation behind No.6 Market Place revealed a late medieval burgage property ditch. A flavour of the old market atmosphere can still be got in the Orange Tree, with its timber-framing, brick barrel vaulted cellars and ghost (allegedly).


DGM Festival Booking from 24 May

Buckton castle comm digBooking for the first Dig Greater Manchester Archaeology Festival (22 to 25 June) will go live on our Eventbrite pages on 24 May.

Follow the link here to book:

We have 16 FREE events showcasing the latest archaeological research from across the city region, including: a historic pub crawl in Altrincham, tours of industrial Castlefield and digs in Castleshaw, Salford and Wigan, to a North West Research seminar at Salford University, workshops at Manchester Museum and exhibitions in Tameside.

You’ll be able to follow the festival through our Facebook pages ( and via our twitter feed @DGM_Archaeology

An Overview of the DGM Project, 2011 to 2016

The 28th April 2017 should go down as a landmark in the new digital media archaeology landscape as the date of the first community archaeology twitter conference: There were over 50 papers with 15 minute slots spread across 30 hours (with two keynote speakers kicking things off on the 27th April) from the Americas, […]

via ‘I Dig Therefore I Am: The impact of the DGM Project’: My Public Archaeology Twitter Conference Talk about Dig Greater Manchester — archaeologyuos