First Kirknewton Archaeology Festival celebrates one of England's richest historic landscapes

By Richard Moss | 24 August 2012
a photo of a village amidst trees, flelds and hills
The beautiful village of Kirknewton© Brian Rogers
Festival Preview: Kirknewton Archaeology Week, Kirknewton, September 1-8 2012

One of the richest yet most overlooked historic landscapes in England is about to celebrate its importance with an ambitious week-long archaeology festival.

The first Kirknewton Archaeology Festival takes place in and around the beautiful but seemingly innocuous Northumbrian village of Kirknewton, and boasts a bustling programme of free talks, walks, demonstrations, performances and an exhibition exploring a remarkably varied archaeological heritage.

If that seems ambitious, it might be useful to know that Kirknewton is nestled in the folds of the Northumbrian National Park where it is surrounded by an archaeological landscape that takes in Neolithic henges, Bronze Age burial sites, Iron Age hillforts and the Royal capital of the Anglo Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria at Gefrin.

The hills around Kirknewton were also the scene of several bitter medieval battles between England and Scotland.

Circular walks will be visiting these battlefields, including the site of the largest battle between the English and the Scots, the 1513 Battle of Flodden. The 500th anniversary of the battle, which saw the death of James VI, falls next year and archaeological excavations are currently underway to try and reveal more about the events of the day. 

Elsewhere the henges, hillforts, ancient woodlands and site of the 7th century Gefrin Royal Palace will be explained and explored while a brace of events will remember one of Northumbria's most famous sons, Admiral Collingwood, who survived the Battle of Trafalgar to spend his later years striding these very hills.

More pictures:

a photo of the circular remains of a settlement on a hillside
Hut circle at St Gregory's Hillfort© Brian Rogers

a photo of a landscape of hills, folds and fields
Monday Cleugh from Humbleton Hill and in the distance Yeavering Bell© Brian Rogers

a photo of a beautiful landscape of rolling hills with a small village nestled into a river valley in the middle distance
Hethpool in the College Valley - home to several hillforts© Brian Rogers

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