VILLAGERS are being urged to scour their homes for “hidden historical gems” in a bid to boost an ambitious community project.
The Archaeological Practice, supported by Sunderland City Council, hopes to create a detailed “village atlas” for Penshaw, Shiney Row, Cox Green and Mount Pleasant.
A public launch at Penshaw Community Association this week saw old maps, photographs and archaeological records go on display.
Residents are being encouraged to get involved and submit their own historical documents, which can be scanned and added to the group’s collection, charting from pre-history to the present day.
Project manager Richard Carlton said: “The project aims to involve people in learning about and participating in research about the history of their communities.”
The Newcastle-based Archaeological Practice specialises in carrying out and reporting on historical research for private, corporate and public organisations.
It draws on a wide range of expertise to carry out a full range of work in cultural heritage.
Alan Rushworth, also a project manager, said: “We have worked on projects like this quite a bit in the past. We try to build up a picture of the villages and their immediate surroundings and reconstruct them in maps.
“We want as many people as possible to get involved.
“Most of the maps are held by the county records office, but it is quite possible that people will have old items that we haven’t seen before. They can quite often get hidden away in attics and cupboards.
“We hope this project will help unearth them.”
The group also hopes to organise a range of events, including guided walks and public talks, as part of the six-month project.
“We intend to get out and about across the area for a variety of community events,” added Mr Rushworth.
For more information about the project, visit www.archaeologicalpractice.co.uk or email info@ArchaeologicalPractice.co.uk.