Walking through Time with Ken Sloan

We were pleased this Saturday to welcome back a long standing supporter of our work at Calderstones Ken Sloan.

Ken is a local environmental historian who has led numerous popular ‘time walks’ around the park.  His expertise in prehistoric Liverpool is formidable and he can lead you though the landscape of Calderstones as it was 4,000 years ago.

Ken is a keen enthusiast of the past and brought along some excting examples of prehistoric artifacts including a neolithic stone axe, barbed flint arrow heads and a replica clay urn – designed to look like the ones that were found in Wavertree over 100 years ago.

Ken Sloan Time Walk

Ken Sloan

It’s likely that similar urns were buried in the Calder Stones for the cremated remains of Bronze age people living in this area 3000 years ago.

If you want to see the original urns they are on display at The Museum of Liverpool: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/visit/galleries/history/burial-urn.aspx. Free to visit!

After a brief talk about the stone-age, Ken took our intrepid visitors on a somewhat muddy but enjoyable romp through the fields of the park eventually finishing by the Calder Stones themselves.

Visitor Calder Stones

The Big Dig: Dates Announced!

2015 is here, meaning we are getting ever closer to The Big Dig getting underway in Calderstones Park. A buzz of excitement built before Christmas thanks to the ever popular and mysterious Calder Stones, with many local enthusiasts enjoying a special tour and talk of the Stones by lamp light in the park with special guest, archaeologist and prehistory expert Dr George Nash.

With enthusiasm for discovery well and truly sparked, we can now announce when The Big Dig itself will be taking place. Get the dates in your diary!

The Big Dig will be happening from Monday 27th April to Friday 8th May 2015. Anyone and everyone is welcome to take part in the project – the very first time that Calderstones will be open and accessible to the public for historical excavation. The park has never been built on, meaning that we could find anything under our feet, perhaps even evidence of the first humans who lived in the area – relics from the earliest Scousers!

Before the two weeks of digging begin there’s plenty of preparation coming up to get involved in and clued up on the excavation processes. On 19th January we held our Monday Mapping session at the Mansion House, with archaeologists from the Museum of Liverpool on hand to share their expertise and telling us about the Museum’s Interactive Map of Merseyside. It was a great turn out and wonderful to see so many people interested in getting mapping.

monday mapping

No need to fret if you missed out as there’ll be lots of other great events coming in the run-up to the Big Dig, with the first happening very soon around the corner.

The Museum of Liverpool will be holding four free tours of their prehistoric collection on Thursday 29th January, including the chance to get up close and hands-on with some replicas of the Calder Stones themselves. Tours will be held at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm.

If you’ve always been intrigued by archaeology, come and get an insight into a day in the life of an Archaeologist at Ready to get Digging on Thursday 19th February at Calderstones Mansion House from 2-4pm. Learn all about the tricks of the trade, including how to prepare for an excavation and how to choose where to dig.

Also at the Mansion House, join Ron Cowell – Curator of Prehistory at Museum of Liverpool – to delve deeper into the lives of the earliest people in Liverpool. Ron will be giving a talk about the Calder Stones and Merseyside during the Stone Age on Thursday 5th March at 7pm.

Lots to get involved with! All the events are free entry, and you can register online at http://www.thereader.org.uk/events and http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/events

The Big Dig: Preparations are underway

Hello and welcome to the blog for our archeological dig which is part of the wider ‘Connect at Calderstones’ project at The Reader Organisation.

Calderstones Park in South Liverpool has been a public park for over 100 years but has a history going back thousands. It is the home to the ancient Calder Stones which are covered in Neolithic carvings left by the earliest human settlers in Merseyside.

The potential for finding things of historic interest in the park is huge, but before spades hit the ground a lot of research has to take place.

This is where our volunteers researchers, Frances, Christine and Mike, come in who will be spending the next few months pulling together historic maps, plans and other documents to build up a pre-dig assessment of the area so we will have a clearer idea of where to put the trenches.

Here are Frances and Christine with Dr Liz Stewart from National Museums Liverpool perusing some dusty photos of the Calderstones from the 1950s.

Volunteers Stewart Volunteers

What other treasures will they uncover?

As part of the Connect at Calderstones project with the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Museums Liverpool there will be a fine selection of Heritage activities and events at Calderstones Park in the coming months, with a selection of interesting literature for all to enjoy at each. The first of these events are coming up in the New Year, with details below:

Mapping Monday – Monday 19th January, 2-3pm
Archaeologists from the Museum of Liverpool are coming to Calderstones Park to share their map expertise and to offer you the chance to learn all about how they use their maps. This will also be a chance for you to find out how you can contribute to the Museum of Liverpool’s Interactive Map of Merseyside.

Ready to get digging – Thursday 19th February, 2-4pm
This event offers the chance to get a further insight into a day in the life of an Archaeologist where you can learn all about the tricks of the trade including how Archaeologists prepare for an excavation, what equipment they need, how they choose where to dig, and how they sort out finds which have been excavated.

Both events are free to attend. For more information, see The Reader Organisation’s website: http://www.thereader.org.uk/courses

For further information on the project or any of our heritage offerings contact Richard MacDonald on 0151 729 2200 or email richardmacdonald@thereader.org.uk