Posted by: rockrich | January 22, 2012

The January Blues

After an extended seasonal break, Blue Team restarted work on the third week of January.  With dodgy weather forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, a team of four turned out Tuesday on a dry, clear, cold and icy day with the advantage that the boggy moor was frozen and even the appalling ‘river of mud’ track left by the Emmerdale film crew was passable.  Tony Morley rejoined the team after an absence and plans to be out once a week – welcome back to him.  The Lanshaw Delves panels high up on the moor were tackled, the most distant of the panels to record on Ilkley Moor, and all five photogrammed and four of them fully recorded and photographed.  A feature consisting of a small cairn & semi-circular possible rubble wall remains and a hut platform with some timber remains (probably 20thC), were mapped to the location plan as were the remains of 7 lime kilns (see below).  It was sad to see the ancient Liberty boundary stone, “Lanshaw Lass” (carved with “ILB” in 1893 when the Ilkley Local Board bought Ilkley Moor from the Middleton family) still fallen and cast aside into a limestone extraction pit.

Wednesday was cancelled.  On Thursday, a quickly organised group of three went out in the afternoon to record and photograph the remaining Lanshaw Delves panel and went further S to find and record the panel reported near the Lanshaw Lad boundary stone.  It was eventually found 60m from the reported position and the conclusion was, as Keith Boughey (PRAofWR) had suspected, that the reported ‘pecked’ dimples were entirely natural.  They look to be root penetration of vegetation shortly after sediment deposition.  The rock was measured, identification photos taken and the decision made to do neither a panel plan, location plan, photogrammetry nor comprehensive photography.  On the way down, the weather closed in with horizontal hail and heavy rain.  Horrible, but at least a full team doesn’t have to make the long trudge.

The irrepressible Richard Stroud has also been in the field, not only helping out Red Team who is struggling to get enough volunteers out, but also to do Blue Team panoramas.

The Lanshaw Delves limestone boulder pits and lime kilns
The week before, Dave, Peter and Mike (who has been heard to say that ‘early industrial archaeology is far more interesting then Neolithic/EBA carved rocks’), did a recce visit and also reviewed the lime kiln remains on the S side of the Lanshaw Delves limestone boulder pits.  Late 19th and early 20thC accounts record up to 12 kilns but they concluded a possible 7 and they are possibly of 17th or early 18thC origin – but an expert opinion is needed.  Small finds of coal above kiln 1 show that they were coal fired.  A lost path from the middle of the Delves to the W end of Green Crag was spotted on the 1850 map and this links to the possible ‘loading platform’ identified by Al Oswald of English Heritage during CSI training.  Putting all these things together, it suggests a possible coal supply route from, perhaps, Baildon Moor and an onward lime supply route via the W of Green Crag to Ilkey.  Brief notes of the visit were passed to Watershed Landscapes/Pennine Prospects and contact was made with Dr David Johnson, a geographer, landscape archaeologist, author and a limestone industries expert, who directed the Ingleborough  Archaeology Group ‘Sow Kilns’ and other lime kiln excavations in the Dales.  David has kindly sent a copy of the Sow Kilns report, photographs and other documents and plans a visit with us to Lanshaw Delves following which a report will be made to the Community Archaeologist.  As far as we know, the Lanshaw kilns have never been properly investigated but some excavation of Lanshaw Delves was carried out in the 19thC.  by a Mr Jon. Hainsworth who was looking for prehistoric huts.

Alison Tymon of West Yorkshire Geology Trust, who some of you will know, passed on “A Sketch of the Pre-Historic Remains on Rombalds Moor”, Holmes, John 1886.  That article is interesting not only for the carved panels and other archaeology it records but also that it records Lanshaw Delves.

Holmes records that ‘in the memory of old people recently living’, oak and elm were, ‘often taken out of the bogs of Lanshaw and elsewhere’. (Lan-Shaw means ‘Long Copse’).  He says that Lanshaw Delves “has always attracted notice” and records that, before it was recognised as a limestone extraction/ lime burning site, various people took it to be either a Roman Camp or British village and that a Mr Forrest interpreted the limestone boulder extraction pits and trenches as, “a double and sometimes a triple row of hut dwellings, upwards of a mile in length by about 40 yards in breadth…..”.  Forrest interprets the lime kilns as the village bake-ovens: “which we conjecture these to have been, the common bakehouses of the community. There the game, whether wild boar or venison, was cooked, and the bread, if they had any, was baked ”  ….. “when the savoury morsel was done to the bone, then the door was opened, the mea t withdrawn, and the feast at once begun..” and for drink  “…water might be obtained from the springs above the swamp immediately in front.”   Ah, early British life was wonderful and bountiful!

Work programme – outstanding photogrammetry
The team are behind with photogrammetry with all the Green Crag Slack panels, several of the Green Crag panels, 5 Bingley Moor panels (and a few others) outstanding.  Almost all of them fall within the ‘red line area’ – panels that have to be completed before grouse start pairing up in March.  Whenever the panels are dry, a photogram team lead by either Peter or Dave will divert from the panels we are recording to photogram the red line panels.  Outside of Wednesday/ Thursday, Peter or Dave will occasionally call a photogram day and make ad-hoc contact with you.  Please help if you can.

Work programme – next panels
There are just 3 panels outstanding (apart from photogram) in the priority red line area and these are the 3 in the Backstone Beck Enclosure.  Each has a panel plan so they can be done by a small team.  After those, Blues will tackle the 15 panels along Pancake Ridge (the first escarpment above the road on Ilkley Moor E/Burley Moor W).  Then its W to the Hangingstones three, four panels W of Backstone Beck and eight panels on Cranshaw Thorn Hill & Ilkley Crags.  Workdays will normally be Wednesday and Thursday meeting 09.45 but, because of weather, subject to late-notice change.  A good turnout is needed if the team is not to get behind.  Jo Pinfield is rapidly regaining mobility and hopes to be out in the field and will gradually take over field supervision from Mike.

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