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Cumbria Terrestrial Mineral Resource National Mapping Programme project

Cumbria Terrestrial Mineral Resource NMP project mapped 11 areas of Cumbria which were identified as under threat from aggregate extraction. Over 500 new records were created by the project, which have greatly enhanced the local and national records. The results of the project will be used to inform future strategies in the management of the mineral and aggregate resources and in wider planning issues.

Colour aerial photograph showing arablbe fields with very faint traces of archaeological remains visible as slight colour changes
Faint traces of cropmarks of field boundaries running at an angle across the image over the hummocky terrain near Castle Carrock. This field system may date to the Iron Age or Roman period. NMR 28045_038 23-JUN-2010 © Historic England

The study areas

This element of the Cumbrian Terrestrial Minerals Resource Assessment was undertaken by Alison Deegan on behalf of Oxford Archaeology North. It ran from January and October 2013 and formed part of National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP) Activity 3A4 (Identification of Terrestrial Assets by Non-Intrusive Survey). The project was funded by the National Heritage Protection Commissions Programme (6490).

The study areas were located where Oxford Archaeology North had identified that there was greatest potential for the destruction archaeology from future aggregate extraction. These areas ranged in size from a few square kilometres to 14 square kilometres. Several of them complement mapping in adjacent areas from earlier NMP and Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment projects. These study areas covered a wide variety of landscapes from upland moor to coastal marsh. They lie outside of the Lake District National Park.

Colour map with project areas shown as green blocks surrounding smaller orange blobs delineating the actual CTMR study areas
Map showing the 11 CTMR study areas in relation to the county of Cumbria, the Lake District National Park and previous National Mapping Programme and Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment projects. © Historic England

Overview of results

The mapping generated 500 new monument records in the National Record for the Historic Environment (NRHE) and enhanced a further 29 existing ones. Of these new and enhanced records, only 99 were represented in the Cumbria Historic Environment Records (HER). This indicates that a sizable proportion of this information was also new to the Cumbria HER.

A wide range of monuments from a broad range of dates were recorded by the project. These included:

  • A possible Neolithic pit avenue at Catty Crook Lane
  • A Bronze or Iron Age palisaded enclosure near Low Plains Farm
  • And Iron Age or Roman period hill top enclosures also in the Low Plains area.

A substantial and well-documented Roman farmstead at Petteril Green was mapped, as were several known and previously unrecorded sections of Roman road. Medieval and post medieval settlement remains were sparser but there was a potentially significant identification of tofts and building platforms at Coalfell Beck.

A grid of images showing the mapping of enclosures against OS maps.
Extracts from the NMP mapping of individual enclosures of possible prehistoric, Roman and medieval date in the Low Plains study area. The enclosures vary in size and form from rectilinear to curvilinear. © Historic England

It is, however, the remains of post medieval industrial remains, particularly of iron and coal extraction, that dominate the archaeological character of several of the study areas.The image below shows a multi-phase industrial landscape with a possible small settlement near Coalfell, Brampton Kames.  The remains of medieval settlement are depicted in the top right corner along with ridge and furrow ploughing. A large number of coal shafts are mapped close by.

An annotated extract of NMP mapping over an OS map
An extract of the NMP mapping showing a multi-phase industrial landscape with a possible small settlement near Coalfell, Brampton Kames. © Historic England

Key findings from the project can be found in the Cumbria Terrestrial Mineral Resource Assessment report:

Cumbria Terrestrial Mineral Resource Assessment

Cumbria Terrestrial Mineral Resource Assessment

Published 31 October 2013

Summary report on the air photo and lidar element of the Cumbria Terrestrial Mineral Resource.

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.

For further information on a project or any other aspect of the work of the Remote Sensing Team please contact us via email using the link below.

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