Colour aerial photographColour aerial photo showing fields of patchy yellow and green crop with a tree-lined beck; buried ditches show as dark green
Cropmarks of an Iron Age or Roman enclosure with a possible internal building and various boundary ditches photographed on 22-JUL-2013. (EHA 28045/051) © Historic England
Cropmarks of an Iron Age or Roman enclosure with a possible internal building and various boundary ditches photographed on 22-JUL-2013. (EHA 28045/051) © Historic England

Eden-Petteril-Caldew Transect Air Photo and Lidar Mapping Project

This project provided archaeological air photo and lidar mapping, analysis and recording for an area south of Carlisle. The transect crosses three river valleys: the Eden, Petteril and Cardew.

The adjoining Hadrian’s Wall and Cumbrian Terrestrial Minerals Resource (CTMR) NMP projects revealed prehistoric enclosures, Iron Age and/or Roman farmsteads and fields systems and later features. Some of these monuments survive as earthworks and others were seen as cropmarks. This project area has similar potential. It is crucial to have these monuments documented and on a map so that when schemes such as Carlisle’s planned Southern Relief Road are implemented the archaeologists and planners can take appropriate action on the ground.

New light on an old discovery

In 1789 Hayman Rooke reported to the Lord Bishop of Carlisle on a number of antiquities he had discovered including Castlesteads Camp near Stockdalewath. The enclosure was ‘re-discovered’ as cropmarks by aerial photographers in the 1970s. The central area was excavated in 1979. These investigations indicated that the more curving outer enclosure was earlier than the near-square inner enclosure. The inner enclosure contained cobbled surfaces and was tentatively interpreted as a Roman farmstead.

Reportedly, some time after Hayman Rooke’s visit, the ditches of the Castlesteads Camp were deliberately filled in with clay. This may have coincided with the laying out of the hedged fields shown on the photo above when Dalston parish was enclosed in the early 19th century. The cropmarks of this enclosure are probably so bold because of this clay filling. Interestingly the lidar imagery indicates that these ditches have not been completely levelled and also shows two hollow ways leading south-west from each enclosure down towards the River Roe near Stockdalewath.

The recent programme of work

The project was carried out by Alison Deegan. It was funded by Heritage Protection Commissions (6949).

Work was completed in 2017 and the data has been passed to the Cumbria Historic Environment Team. 

You can see the results in the research report for the project.

The images used on this page are copyright Historic England unless specified otherwise. For further details of any photographs or other images and for copies of these, or the plans and reports related to the project, please contact the Historic England Archive.


Alison Deegan

Archaeologist and air photo and lidar interpreter

Alison is an independent consultant specialising in detailed and accurate mapping of archaeological landscapes from air photos and lidar data. She has worked with planning consultants, historic environment professionals and national bodies, producing briefs and designs, implementing projects and seeing them through to publication. She has over 20 years of experience interpreting and analysing a wide range of English landscapes, from the Cumbrian coast to the Isle of Thanet

Contact Alison Deegan

Archaeological Investigation