Till - Tweed Project

A map illustrating the Ordnance Survey quarter sheet areas covered by the case study guidance
©ARS Ltd
View across the Till Valley at New Berwick, Northumberland
©ARS Ltd

Region: North East

Owner Type: Mixed

Funding Body: ALSF

Year of Intervention: 2002 - 2003

Summary: The Till-Tweed project has examined a large, archaeologically sensitive landscape to produce detailed archaeological and geomorphological maps together with a guidance document for use by planners, consultants, developers and researchers. Public outreach and educational initiatives formed an important part of this project.

Description: The valleys of the rivers Till and lower Tweed, including the area known as the Milfield Basin, has long been known for its wealth of nationally important archaeology. This ranges from henges, ring ditches and pit alignments to Bronze Age field systems and settlements, cup and ring marked rocks, Iron Age forts, Anglo-Saxon palaces, Medieval castles and battle field sites. However, its geological diversity means it also contains a variety of palaeoenvironmental features and sediments that have the potential to inform us of past human impacts on the environment as well as what the environment was like
Issue: Much of the valley floors of the Till and lower Tweed valleys contain high quality sand and gravel deposits that are extensively exploited for commercial production. Being free-draining, level and fertile, these save areas from the main focus for post-human settlement in the region and are therefore home to much of the spectacular crop-mark archaeology in the region. Managing and conserving this archaeology in the face of continued aggregate extraction and intensive agriculture forms a key challenge.

To build a more effective environment for decision-making it was decided that:

  • an up to date assessment of the archaeological resource was required
  • the information should be integrated into a single GIS which could be distributed free of charge to planners, consultants, developers and researchers
  • an explicit tabulation of the decision-making process and archaeological evaluation be included in the guidance document to provide transparency and consistency
  • using the geomorhpological landform element mapping the most appropriate techniques for evaluating sites on a given landform could be identified in advance

This case study has been effective in highlighting various elements of good practice:

  • importance of consultation and getting to grip with, and understanding the various perspectives and needs of the potential users and stakeholder groups
  • create forums for interaction (seminars, launches, social events and community events) where users can be steadily built
  • high quality mapped data supported by comprehensive archaeological and geomorphological data provides explicit baseline data from which logical and reasoned decision –making can take place - thereby making decision-making easier, more explicit and consistent.

Hard copies of the Planning for the Future: Guidance for Managing the Archaeological and Palaeoenvironmental Resource in the Till-Tweed Valleys, Northumberland, UK document are available by . The PDF version of the document is now available to download from the PDF version section of this web page.



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