Local archaeological dig given the go ahead thanks to Tarmac

September 29, 2021

Tarmac’s Harden Quarry in Northumberland has helped a local history and archaeological group continue its efforts with a donation of £3,500 towards its next dig. 

Thanks to the donation the Holystone History & Archaeological Group can now proceed with its plan to excavate further sections of a Roman road in the area. The road in question once linked Dere Street in the West with the Devil’s Causeway in the East.  

The Holystone History & Archaeological Group formed in 2005, as a result of the Northumberland National Park’s publication of its Holystone Village Atlas. The atlas brought together the known history of Holystone and invited residents to take the project forward to investigate unanswered questions about the history of the area. This included finding the location of the Augustinian priory of nuns and the route of a Roman link road.  

As a result, the group has subsequently undertaken geophysical surveys, a ground penetrating radar survey and three archaeological digs; finding the foundations of the priory and locating parts of the Roman Road.  

Unfortunately, due to funding issues as a result of COVID-19, the future of the group looked uncertain. After hearing about the difficulties the group were facing, Tarmac stepped in to support the group to ensure their next archaeological dig of the Roman Road can go ahead.  

With the funding now in place the group hopes to start the project in May 2022. 

Jan Frazer, secretary of the Holystone History & Archaeology Group, said “We are absolutely delighted to receive these funds from Tarmac’s Harden Quarry. Without this, the latest project would be a complete non-starter.  

“The management team at Harden have been very enthusiastic about our plan and we look forward to revealing more of the Roman road to them, so they can see how well-built much earlier roads were in this region.”  

Gareth Williams, quarry manager at Tarmac’s nearby Harden Quarry, added: “We are proud to have been able to support this group to help with their local archaeological work and to gain an even greater understanding of the history of our local area.  

“We are so lucky to have such impressive archaeological sites and we look forward to seeing what they are able to uncover.”