High Carlingill Project

Digging for Britons!

Community excavations in the Lune Gorge



Lunesdale Archaeology Society (LAS) has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to investigate a pre-historic settlement site just south of the known Roman fort at Low Borrowbridge in the Lune Gorge. The investigations will be conducted over the next two years and will offer an opportunity for volunteers to learn about archaeological techniques while revealing something of the lives of ordinary people at the time of the Roman occupation. The site on farming land in the Lune Gorge was discovered through aerial photography in the 1970s, surveyed in the 1990s, but has not otherwise been examined before.


Geophysics and Walkover survey


The ‘Digging for Britons’ project started in June with an aerial survey using a UAV to create a detailed photogrammetric plan of the site and a magnetometry survey by SUMO, the archaeology firm specialising in these techniques. This was followed by a walkover survey in July. The results from these were used to identify targets for the September/October excavations.

The full 59 page report on these surveys is available for download:  SUMO Report High Carlingill_FINAL


Pictures show the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) prior to take off, the geophys team setting off, and the many ‘lumps and bumps’ in the field.

Pictures from the walkover survey, where volunteers received training in survey techniques


Briefing for the survey

Surveying the features








Dig 2018

The interim report for the first dig in 2018 is now available. Click the following link to download the PDF. Digging for Britons, High Carlingill, Cumbria – 2018 Excavation Interim Report v1.1 (Lo-Res).

There were some very interesting results from the C14 dating. giving dates spanning from before to after the Roman period, suggesting that the site was occupied for many hundreds of years.


Dig 2019

The 2019 dig has been completed. The weather was mainly fine and we rapidly came down on flag floors in two circular structures in different areas of the site. There were quite a lot of pottery finds and hopefully abundant opportunities for C14 dating from the many soil samples taken from different contexts. We have now received the palaeoenvironmental analysis  from the dig earlier this year at High Carlingill. The report shows the use of spelt wheat and barley (typical of Iron Age sites in the North) along with samples of material that could have been used for fodder, bedding and/or thatch. We have eight good samples from four different contexts suitable for dating and these have now been sent for analysis.  Click here to download the PDF: Palaeo assess 2019 pdf


In the meantime members may be interested to hear that we have a poster accepted for a conference at Tullie House in Carlisle on Northern Pre-History that will take place 12-13 October (see Tullie House website for details if you wish to attend). Click here for a copy of the abstract: Northern Prehistory Conference – High Carlingill Abstract

We have now received the report from Solstice for the 2018 and 2019 digs. You can download the PDF here: Digging for Britons, High Carlingill, Cumbria – 2018-2019 Excavation Report

Jan has produced a summary of the digs for the general public. A copy can be downloaded here:

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