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October 2020 

So, with the pandemic continuing and new restrictions thrust upon us from both the government and Newcastle University, here at WallCAP HQ we are embracing the challenge and seeking out the opportunities. 

This month saw the return of fieldwork, however, sadly not involving any volunteer  just yet but the results so far are quite impressive...even if we do say so ourselves! Read all about the excavations at Walltown later in the newsletter.

We hope you enjoy your newsletter.

Happy Halloween!

The WallCAP Team

What's New
Volunteer Satisfaction Questionnaire 2020
This year more than ever, we want to know how connected you feel with the project and the World Heritage Site. With so many restrictions on our lives (!) and our project activity we feel that it is essential that we check-in with you to see how you feel about your involvement with WallCAP. We run a feedback questionnaire every year in the autumn (this year we've added some extra questions) to gauge satisfaction levels, hear your feedback and help us plan for the coming year.

We would be very grateful if you could take 5 minutes to click the link below and let us know your thoughts. If you could do so by 20th November 2020 then that would be great. Please be as honest as you like, we are thick skinned (!) and only want to improve your experience with the project.
Volunteer Satisfaction Questionnaire 2020
'Wall-to-Wall' - Hadrian's Wall and the Great Wall of China
This month saw another international seminar in the Wall-to-Wall collaboration between Hadrian’s Wall and the Great Wall of China. These seminars have been a forum for heritage managers, conservators, and archaeologists to exchange ‘good practice’ that occurs along both Walls.
 
One intriguing difference between ‘our’ Wall and the Great Wall, is that the Great Wall has played an important part symbolically in 20th-century Chinese history, and it has an iconic status among the Chinese, for which visiting the Great Wall can be considered a patriotic pilgrimage. This helps to explain why there are more than 10 million visits to parts of the Great Wall every year! (Imagine 10 million visitors along Hadrian’s Wall!)
 
Despite the high volume of visitors, there are fewer opportunities at present for volunteering, and this has been a subject of interest for our Chinese colleagues. During the seminar, Rob Collins (WallCAP Project Manager) presented a paper (co-written with Kerry Shaw, WallCAP Volunteer Co-ordinator & Community Liaison Officer) about key factors that enhance volunteering. In this regard, WallCAP and the efforts that you have made as a volunteer have not only made a difference locally, but are helping to inspire and shape efforts internationally – that’s what World Heritage is all about!


WallCAP Book Club
The Book Club is available for anyone to join at any time, so please let us know if you'd like to join in. The next title we will be reading is Sycamore Gap – A DCI Ryan Mystery by LJ Ross, with a discussion meeting planned for late November.
Click here to join the WallCAP Book Club
Heritage at Risk (HAR) Activity
Excavations at Walltown
With all the necessary permissions in place and two new members of staff (Jane and Kathryn) raring to go, fieldwork was able to commence at Walltown Crags. We were ready to advertise the volunteering opportunities just as the University announced a move to Tier 3 restrictions (a University-wide tiering system, out with the government tiering system!). This meant we couldn't run any face to face activities until restriction were lifted again (*sad face). So, with a skeleton team (no Halloween pun intended) we went ahead anyway, it just took a bit longer to complete, especially as the weather did not co-operate!

Up on Walltown Crags we excavated two small trenches. One was to investigate an Edwardian excavation that ran several metres along the south face of the Wall and for which there are no records. The other was across a previously unexcavated stretch of the Wall just to the east of the Edwardian work. This meant that we could compare two lengths of the Wall that have had a different history. 

We discovered 3 key things:
- the Wall was built on whinstone bedrock
- the Wall facing stones were unbonded no mortar was used
- the Wall core in that section was composed of soil, boulders and cobbles
We will produce a report soon, including section drawings, photographs and the 3D scan results.

Thank you to those of you who took a walk out and visited us, it really did make a difference seeing friendly faces amidst the squally autumnal weather!
South side of the Wall, previously unexcavated
North side of the Wall, previously unexcavated
Mucklebank Turret - Repaired!
For some years now, the building stones in the southeast corner of turret 44b (known as Mucklbank turret) have regularly fallen or become dislodged. They have needed frequent repositioning - sometimes actual rebuilding - but have been chronically vulnerable.
 
Thanks to our generous funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, WallCAP has been able to hire Gary Simpson - a specialist heritage conservator - to provide a longer-term solution to this problem at Mucklebank. He and his team have employed methods agreed with Historic England to secure the turret's stones and thus stop the regular dislodging and collapse of the building fabric.

The work has now been completed and looks great! More importantly, it halts recurring deterioration at one location along the Wall - one of the key aims of WallCAP!
Update from the Field - Kathryn, WallCAP Project Support Officer
"I mentioned in my intro last month that a visit to Hadrian’s Wall was what originally inspired me to become an archaeologist, and I have to say it has been an absolute privilege to get to dig along the Wall over the past few days. It is definitely not something that I thought I would ever get to do. We were able to excavate a section of Hadrian’s Wall that has never been excavated before and were the first people to see those Wall stones in centuries. It has all been very exciting and I still can’t quite believe that this is my job! Looking forward to sharing this experience with all of you as soon as we can!"
Stone Sourcing and Dispersal (SSD)
Blog O'Clock
This month our Community Geologist, Dr Ian Kille provides an insight into animal fossils, particularly Crinoids, in his new 'Lazy pentagons' blog. 
Click here to read the 'Lazy Pentagons' Blog
Mystery Rock Competition!
Last month's clue (7): Clue : Is it a plant or is it an animal? What has this got to do with St Cuthbert?
The answer is:

Answer: This is part of a crinoid "stem" or column.  Whilst this is commonly known as a sea-lily it is an animal related to starfish and sea-urchins. The column of the animal often breaks into numerous discs which are commonly found on the Northumberland coast around Lindisfarne where they are known as Cuthbert's beads.
Mystery Rock Number 8!

Clue: What is this creature and why is there no barrier to its lifestyle?
 
Answer next month!
Meet the Team
In this section we usually take the opportunity to get to know each other a bit better!
This month we're delighted to introduce Ray Purvis, a WallCAP Volunteer and all round throughly decent chap.
"I took early retirement after 32 years in Further Education and was told by Mrs P, that I had to find something to do! I started volunteering with the National Trust at Wallington in 2009, completing Visitor surveys. I now work in the Gardens and around the property. In 2010, I started as a Volunteer Trail Ranger on Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail. My section is Portgate to Heavenfield. I try to get out on the Trail as much as I can, to monitor its condition, pick up litter, cut back vegetation, replace worn and missing signage and talk to walkers/visitors. In 2014, I was part of the pilot WallWatch program that started to monitor the condition of sections of Hadrian’s Wall. Our team of three WallWatchers, survey Housesteads Fort and Wall miles 36 & 37. As soon as WallCAP started, I signed up and try to get to as many of the activities as I can and carry out some of the projects that have been organised. I think that in the years since retiring, I have found something to do! I can honestly say, I enjoy every minute of it."                                                   Ray
 
And Finally.....
Tullie House Gallery Update 
Cast your minds back to the simpler times of 2019 and you may remember we ran some gallery consultation workshops with Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, to get your thoughts on the upstairs Roman gallery and how it could be improved through the refurbishment we’re funding as part of WallCAP. During these workshops we toured the gallery with the curators and held in-depth discussions on themes, layout, and display methods, to help inform and shape the development of the new gallery. We had intended to hold more of these in-person sessions this year but unfortunately COVID-19 scuppered our plans! However, last week we had a Zoom catch up with the team at Tullie to hear about the progress they’ve been making with the gallery; we’re really excited with how the plans are taking shape and we want to share these developments with you. We’re working with the team to arrange a Zoom workshop so they can give an update on their progress and also offer some additional training on gallery display. Anyone who is interested will be very welcome to join, you do not need to have attended the previous consultations to get involved – watch this space for more! 

That's it for now, stay safe, enjoy the fantastic autumn colours out there....and Happy Halloween!

 
Click here to visit the WallCAP Website
September 2020 Newsletter
The Hadrian's Wall Community Archaeology Project (WallCAP) is very kindly funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund between 2019 and 2021
Hadrian's Wall Community
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Hadrian's Wall Community Archaeology Project (WallCAP) · Newcastle University · Armstrong Building · Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 7RU · United Kingdom

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