Yes, you too can enrol in torture and lashings of filth when you take trowel in fist and connect with every crevice, scraping away at decades of history. Be prepared to get wet and roll about on your knees in mud and muck when you participate in in an archaeological dig in the next few weeks.
Archaeologists from the Museum of Liverpool have come to Calderstones Park to share their experiences, with mapping sessions that give you a chance to learn about how they use their maps and how they identify dig locations in and around Merseyside.
Involve yourself in interrogating, Saxon, Viking and Medieval maps right up to todays modern satellite projections of Merseyside landscapes; then find out how you can contribute to the Museum of Liverpool’s Interactive Map of Merseyside.
This Thursday, 19th February, 2.00pm-4.00pm, will help get visitors at the session, trained up and ready to dig.
The event offers the chance to get a further insight into ‘the day in the life of an archaeologist’ where you can learn 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.
If you are a follower of Time Team or the new BBC ‘Digging for Britain’ then this session and the ones that follow are a definite must for you. At the end of February we will see a geophysical survey of the park which, I can say will be a sell-out!
Following the excitement of the location find, Spring will beckon the ‘Community Big Dig’. This will bring people closer to the park than they’re likely to have ever got before.
Together, over a period of two weeks digging, the ancient history of Calderstones will be revealed and perhaps we will even find things that have never been unearthed before.
As an archaeologist working in the 80’s at Norton Priory Halton; York Viking dig at Coppergate and as an industrial archaeologist at Ironbridge Telford, we were pioneers at the time. We worked with English Heritage, presenting finds and bringing history alive to all walks of life with innovative displays and living history which is now common place today in museum displays.
It would be fantastic to discover and uncover a long lost historical past and transform it into a Liverpool ‘Jorvik’ experience just like York has with its Viking relics. A dream, yes, but who knows?
Today, Tony Robinson and the BBC Time Team have caught the publics imagination with programmes that show how it’s done…….you now have the chance to take part and ‘do it’! You can be trained as an archaeologist and take part in this major dig here in Liverpool.
This is a fantastic opportunity, a wonderful education and if finds are revealing enough, history will be made. The area of Calderstones is ripe with our early history. Bronze age finds have been unearthed and the Woolton’s Camp Hill Iron age fort has produced several interesting exhibits in the past.
Check the website for full details http://www.caldiesbigdig.org.uk or speak to my colleague Richard Macdonald on 0151 729 for a confirmed date and full details of the above events and get involved in the ‘Big Dig’ this year.
This is a unique Heritage event as part of National Museums Liverpool.
Liverpool certainly has its fair share of Wellington memorabilia; the Waterloo Dock, Waterloo Road, Wellington Buildings, Wellington Column, the Wellington Rooms, Wellington Road Church, Wellington Street and even a chunk of Liverpool called Waterloo, to name a few.
All this, lends itself to some superb Civic Society or “Friends” groups planning; schools educational ‘walk-abouts’ and history curriculum work, guided tourist trails, architectural pointers in the form of advertising fliers highlighting the fine building and monument quality of the Wellington era; lectures, talks and even books on the fantastic historical links we have.
The publishers have certainly not been slow in looking ahead; with the ‘four days that changed Europe’s destiny’ published in all its glory and slaughter in a plethora of publications that have hit the shops recently. Maybe the Reader Organisation can engage with some of the reading material and plan some sessions at the Calderstones Mansion with historians giving a master-class in battle tactics of the Wellington age.
Two hundred years ago, come February 26, Napoleon, aged 46, escaped from Elba, landed in France and, averaging 23 miles a day, marched on Paris, mustered his old army of 123,000 men, deposed the Bourbon King Louis XVIII, made himself Emperor again and on June 18, clashed with Wellington at Waterloo, a hamlet ten miles south of Brussels.
It was, perhaps, Britain’s greatest military victory and the ferocious confrontation finally ended the tyrannical reign of Napoleon Bonaparte.
In front of the Walker Art Gallery and Sessions House in Liverpool’s St George’s Cultural Quarter is a triangular space formerly occupied by the old Islington Market. On this commanding site the Wellington Column was erected in 1861-3. The Duke died in 1852, but funds were slow to come in, and a design competition in 1856, won by Andrew Lawson of Edinburgh was followed by further delays while a site was secured. The bronze statue of the Duke is 40 metres high and cast from the bronze of melted-down cannon, captured from the French at the battle of Waterloo. The carved panel at the base has bronze plaques on the pedestal and is displayed with the names of Wellington’s victories, and on the face is a relief of Waterloo. It shows the grand charge from the battle, and the Duke can be seen mounted on his horse, telescope in hand. The form was no doubt intended to echo Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square and this it does so well!
The fact remains that, after Waterloo, Britain became the pre-eminent global power. In a battle that lasted 11 hours: 200.000 men, 60,000 horses, and 537 guns were in action on a patch of land five miles square.
We have no previous Waterloo celebrations to equate, as the universal slaughter and devastation was not to be surpassed until the trenches of WWI, which is probably why the first centenary anniversary in 1915 went unheralded.
Let’s hope the powers that be in Liverpool hold onto this hero and memorial to Britain’s greatest military victory, and plan a suitable occasion and event to commemorate June 1815. Perhaps the old Wellington Rooms on Mount Pleasant can be restored.
As yet, I have not seen or heard of any plans in Liverpool for this summer, but I do know that Tim Clayton the curator in London, has a fantastic forthcoming Napoleon exhibition at the British Museum. However, Liverpool’s Lady Lever Art Gallery does have one of the finest collections of Napoleonic, and I am always drawn to this display in the brilliant Empire Room showing the Death Mask of Napoleon and other artefacts of the period.
I am sure that this fantastic collection would draw the crowds if marketed, as well as a gaze up to view the magnificent monument that has been at the gateway to Liverpool city centre for many, many years!
I wonder how many people in Liverpool know WHO is standing at the top of this memorial?