The project started in January 2015 and, to date, there have been walk-over surveys around seven features that are listed on the Heritage Environment Record with mixed results. One duplicated entry was discovered and in four situations there was no visible evidence of the feature listed in the record. There will be further investigations in the months ahead.
In addition two excavations have been carried out on features at Dacre with the professional support of Jim Brightman of Solstice Archaeology.
The first, a Big Dig with open house for visiting excavators over a five day period, was an ancient enclosure and an adjacent feature at Oxen Close Farm in Dacre. No dateable evidence was reported and it has been suggested by the excavation team that the feature originated in the Middle Ages.
The second feature to be excavated was Mansion Knoll, a circular mound on a hill near Clocken Syke Farm. This was subjected to a measured survey and a geophysical survey followed by the removal of top soil from the eastern slope and a superficial excavation of a feature known as the Grave on the southern edge near the base of the mound. No archaeology was noted and the opinion of the excavation party is that the feature is entirely natural.
This, however, conradicts the pulished opinion of former members of the group who carried our a number of investigations on the north side of the mound between 2004 and 2010. Work is under way to consolidate the results of all the investigations.
Big Dig at Oxen Close
In November 2015 the excavation team turned their attention to a site 150 metres south west of Mansion Knoll where it is known that there has been prehistoric settlement and industrial activity from that period and later. The site is close to the features known as the Dacre Iron Age Smithy that were a prompt for the Nidderdale Iron Project of 2008 to 2012.The work continues with interesting platforms and embankments being revealed, as shown below.
Site near Dacre Iron Age Smithy