Archaeological dig to start in Sunderland

The area across the River Wear.
The area across the River Wear.
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People in Sunderland have the chance to see an archaeological dig in the city.

The dig, on the south banks of the Wear, will begin on Monday, August 7, and last until Friday, August 18.

Some of the uncovered artifacts.

Some of the uncovered artifacts.

Investigation of the river bank at South Hylton, just a short walk from the Golden Lion and opposite the Shipwright’s Hotel, is being carried out by a team of volunteers led by professional archaeologists.

It is part of a community led, Heritage Lottery Funded project to trace the historical origins of the so-called ‘forgotten stones’ which are stone structures along the banks of the river associated with pivotal stages in the city’s history.

The project has been driven by the Castletown Neighbourhood Action Group who, with the help of £93,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, launched the project last December with a public meeting outlining their aims.

Chairman of the North Area Committee, which works closely with voluntary and community groups, Coun Denny Wilson, said: “This project has really captured people’s imagination, with volunteers and schools becoming involved.

This project has really captured people’s imagination

Coun Denny Wilson

“Being able to watch the archaeologists and volunteers work over the next few weeks will hopefully encourage even more local interest and help demonstrate the project is making progress.

“Once again we have to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for providing even more funding for Sunderland’s heritage. This focus on the river is very timely with the Tall Ships event coming to Sunderland and our bid to be City of Culture 2021.”

The project is investigating the origins of the stone structures to establish if it was a bridge, dam, causeway or weir, why and when it was built and who would have had the motive, wealth, manpower and skill to construct such a massive piece of engineering.

Volunteers and schools, supported by Sunderland City Council and a team of professional archaeologists, are also investigating interlinked sites around the city to try and identify the origins of stone structures that once spanned the River Wear between North and South Hylton. It is hoped that a larger archaeological investigation involving field-walking, walkover surveys, test pitting and trial trenching will take place on another site of interest in the area later this month.

The Golden Lion and the ferry.

The Golden Lion and the ferry.

The community led project will visit various sites including Roker Beach, Hylton Ferry Landing, North Dock, local farmland and the Hylton Dam site with plenty of opportunities for volunteers to become involved with the research work.

For more information on the project and how to volunteer visit www.sunderlands-forgotten-stones.com or email sunderlandsforgottenstones@gmail.com.

Stones of Sunderland.

Stones of Sunderland.