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The archaeology of early settlement in upper Teesdale, co. Durham

Coggins, Denis (1984) The archaeology of early settlement in upper Teesdale, co. Durham. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis considers the archaeological evidence for early settlement in Upper Teesdale from its beginnings in the early mesolithic up to the Norman conquest. The area is defined as the valley of the river Tees and its tributaries from watershed to watershed between Cross Fell in the west and Middleton in Teesdale to the east. A preliminary chapter presents background information including the geology and climate of the area which affected early settlement. The archaeological material is dealt with chronologically, a separate chapter being devoted to each period. Each chapter considers the available evidence for settlement derived from strayfinds, pollen analysis, excavation and field survey. Mining of lead and iron is given a separate chapter as also is farming practice. The thesis is concluded by a chapter summarising the results of the study. There are gazetteers of strayfinds, archaeological sites and industrial sites. There is evidence for early mesolithic presence in Upper Teesdale and also for later mesolithic woodland clearance. Pollen analysis and finds of axes show that this process continued during the neolithic and though no site has so far been identified these probably exist beneath blanket peat. Clearance was intensified in the early bronze age and extensive field systems occupy much of the south bank of the valley between 105m and 457m. During the later prehistoric settlement appears to have moved downhill and Roman-British sites are usually at or below 305m. The post-Roman forest regeneration found in the north-east does not seem to have occurred in Teesdale and there seems to be little change in the settlement pattern until after the Norman conquest. Interestingly almost all the evidence for early settlement is derived from the south side of the valley while mediaeval and modern settlements occupy the north bank.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1984
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:15 May 2013 15:45

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