We have received these photos showing some of the latest finds from Anston Stones where Archaeologists from Durham Uni continue to toil, painstakingly scraping away history one layer at a time!
SPOILERS! If you don’t wish to know about the finds in advance of the talks on Saturday and Wednesday DON’T READ ANY FURTHER!
The left hand photo shows fragments of a pot from the 18th or 19th century, the right hand picture is a quartzite flake and a small Flint flake, both prehistoric probably middle and upper Palaeolithic, they could be tens or hundreds of thousands of years old!
The team has also found a pig jaw, a sheep jaw and some probable Roman pot.
Ceramic pot you understand, no one is accusing the Romans of smoking mari-ju-ana.
Try to make it to the talks, tomorrow at Creswell, Wednesday at Anston.
According to early reports we are hearing that Archaeologists from Durham University have made their first finds near Dead Man’s Cave in Anston Stones.
A piece of flint (could it be a tool or weapon, we’ve not heard yet) and pieces of glazed pottery have been found. No details on the pottery but it looks like more than one piece of the same vessel.
More news as we get it, but in the meantime don’t forget there is a photo display in the Parish Hall and an upcoming talk as well!
Professor Mark White of Durham University will be speaking at Anston Parish Hall on Wednesday 13 July at 7pm.
Creswell Craggs will be hosting a presentation on Saturday by Professor Paul Pettit at 1.30pm.
The archaeologists from Durham University have arrived and begun work in Anston Stones!
This is a follow up to previous years and will be accompanied by a talk and photo display in Anston Parish Hall. This is another reminder if we needed one of the significance of the Stones and how lucky we are to have it on our door step.
The Stones and Creswell Crags are remnants from the days when Hyenas, Lions, Hippos and Rhinos roamed our lands!
Anston Parish Councillor Chris Sadler commented:
“Archaeologists from Durham University are digging in Anston Stones from Monday 4 July to Friday 15 July. They can be located by following the top path from Anston Parish Hall car park through the Stones, all visitors including groups will be very welcome.
There will be a presentation given by Professor Mark White of Durham University Wednesday 13 July in Anston Parish Hall at 7pm. Everyone welcome, please come along and join us.
Also in the Hall are information boards about Anston Stones during the ice-age and present day, everyone is welcome to come to the Parish Hall and view these, please contact the office beforehand on 01909 560922 between 9am and 12 to open the doors.
Durham University also have a team at Creswell Craggs digging outside Mother Grundy’s Cave and a presentation on Saturday by Professor Paul Pettit at 1.30pm. All welcome.
We are very lucky to have such wonderful amenity SSSI sites on our door step with the rare Magnesium Limestone 260,000 years old found in very few sites in the UK. Please make the most of this occasion of the visiting archaeologists and the opportunity to learn more about this Ice Age site and animals. See you there!”
SSSI means Site of Special Scientific Interest and is a government designation for important natural landscapes and habitat in the UK.
In a move of almost “what foot shall I shoot myself in next” proportions Anston Parish Council decided tonight to move forward to study the possibility of banning bikes (of the push variety) from Anston Stones.
Some Councillors thought the idea ludicrous with at least two confirming they took their bikes there regularly. Others thought the sites SSSI protection (Site of Special Scientific Interest) meant that mountain biking was a form of criminal damage.
Deliberately damaging a SSSI is indeed a criminal offence but the gentle erosion caused by cycling (not to mention walking and horse riding) makes this tenuous at best.
One Councillor expressed surprise that groups of twenty cyclists were using the woods at time and wondered what would happen if such a group ran roughshod over a family group in one of the tunnels.
Cooler heads pointed out that cycling has been going on there for decades and it’s not happened yet (as far as anyone seemed to know)
It transpired that this all came about via an email sent to the clerk. A group of 20 (horror!!) cyclists were recently making their way through the wood and one of them ran out of talent on a tricky descent. An ambulance had some difficulty getting to him and were helped by a local contractor familiar with the layout of the Stones.
This led the Council to ponder whether the woods are suitable for cycling at all and they resolved to go away and fact find before bringing it back to a future meeting.
They also resolved to consider:
- Banning fishing in Anston Stones
- Banning Dogs from pay areas and playing fields on the rec ground.
This led to further questions about how such bans would be enforced and what could be done about the sheer amount of dog poo littering the local area. As the meeting ground to a halt no one had any answers but they resolved to meet again soon and discuss.
What do you think about banning cycling from the Stones?
Do you ride there? Have you ever sliced a family in half with your front wheel?
What about fishing?
And do you clean up after your dog? If so well done, if not a plague on you and your house!
Please feel free to comment below.
Hot off the press is some more information on when archaeologists from Durham University will be visiting Anston Stones to perform a dig neat Dead Man’s Cave.
The dates are 3-15 of July this year and the team will be led by Professor Mark White.
They are concentrating on an area on a small gorge just down from the top path on Dead Man’s Cave and will be excavating small trenches near to the rock face. This is a follow up visit as detailed in our previous article.
The team are happy to receive visitors while they are on site and will be able to speak to interested members of the general public about their work.
Dead Man’s Cave us best reached from the top path through the stones, keep going until you see a field with a big owl box in it (at least I think that’s what it is), then turn right into the woods for a few minutes. The cave is in a little gorge when you reach the rock face. Be careful with kids and pets as it’s a long way to fall if you go the wrong way!
Councillor Christine Sadler of Anston Parish Council said “It’s a great opportunity for us all to find out something fascinating about the past right on our doorstep. Anston Stones is owned and managed as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) by Anston Parish Council so it’s locally owned and protected by representatives voted in by the people of Anston.”
Anston Stones was originally gifted to the then local authority Kiveton and District in the 1950s by the Duke of Leeds estate, it was absorbed into the newly created RMBC in the 70s and passed eventually to Anston Parish Council.
The site covers 88 acres and was notified as an SSSI in 1955. One very unusual feature for such a place is the mineral railway running through it. This adds an element of recent history to the Stones and means you have many fine features such as the bridge below to admire when walking through the woods.
As always if taking dogs please respect the local wildlife and clean up that poop!
Archaeologists are to visit Anston Stones again this year after a successful dig in 2015.
The leader of the team has said they will welcome visits to the site by the general public whilst carrying out the work, more info as we get it!
Anston Stones is a SSSI (usually pronounced “triple SI”) a government designation for a Site of Special Scientific Interest. As such it is protected by law and damaging it can attract a criminal prosecution.
The site has many interesting features from Dead Man’s Cave to the mineral railway which runs through the site alongside Anston Brook.
Here is a link if you want to read their past report from the site (rather technical)
Anston Archeological Dig Prelim Report 2015
I’ve walked through Anston Stones before many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever fully appreciated the stunning variety and character of the woods, the hills, the caves and limestone crags and the railway which makes it such a great place for a walk.
Owned by Anston Parish Council and recognised by local and central government as a Local Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest the value of the stones are well appreciated.
Like a miniature Stanage Edge in places I’m surprised not to see climbers trying the crags out and despite the quite close proximity of the busy A57 you get a great sense of solitude. The railway and bridges adds massively to the character and I wonder should the railway ever been abandoned and dismantled what great things could be done with the track bed, a cycle way perhaps?
Dead Man’s Cave lends a spooky and macabre element to the proceedings and you can have endless fun scrambling up banks and crags on all fours trying to reach hard to see places and explore.
See our video here from the depths of Dead Man’s Cave!