Volunteers searching a ploughed field for prehistoric artefacts, with views across the Vale of Eden.

Living among the monuments

In 2006 I collaborated with Penrith and Eden Museum in Cumbria to invite the local community to participate in an archaeological field walking survey across the Vale of Eden. Also part of the project were activities for schools, guided walks, lectures, and an exhibition at Penrith and Eden Museum.

Over fifty volunteers contributed to the exploration of more than 200 fields, revealing the areas where people were living in relation to remarkable monuments such as Long Meg and Her Daughters stone circle and the gigantic henge at Mayburgh. Finds include stone tools made from flint, chert and volcanic tuff, including some fragments of stone axes which had their origins high on the nearby Lake District fells.

The project is directed by Aaron Watson, Annie Hamilton-Gibney and Antony Dickson, with support from Judith Clarke. It has been funded by the Local Heritage Initiative, part of the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

Further information about the background to the project can be found in the Living Among the Monuments booklet. There is also an interim report detailing the results of the first phase of fieldwalking. Monumental has also produced an interpretative film, Stones from the Sky, which explores the significance and meaning of stone axes from the Lake District. The final analysis of the artefacts and their distribution is currently in progress and further publications of the results will follow.