Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum

Young Indiana Jones wannabes are being invited to get their hands dirty and discover more about North Northumberland's past at the Big Dig.
Young Indiana Jones wannabes are being invited to get their hands dirty and discover more about North Northumberland's past at the Big Dig.

Young Indiana Jones wannabes are being invited to get their hands dirty and discover more about the area’s past at the Big Dig.

On Saturday, June 14, a special event is being held to launch the new Flodden Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) when youngsterrs can enjoy taking part in an exploration of the Ford Moss Colliery on the Ford and Etal Estate.

Aimed at eight to 17-year-olds who have an interest in archaeology, the day will give young people the opportunity to learn basic archaeological excavation techniques and skills such as metal detecting and recording their finds.

They will also discover the art of interpreting the various lumps and bumps on the landscape and learn more aboutthe science of reading old maps and documents.

The dig is the first event for the new Flodden branch of the nationwide Young Archaeologists’ Club, which has local clubs all over the UK for young people interested in finding out about the history of where they live.

The new club, which will meet monthly, is part of the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum project, which was set up to create a ‘museum without walls’ and commemorate sites and events linked to the key Borders battle between the English and the Scots 501 years ago.

Jane Miller, education officer for the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum, explained: “It’s fantastic that the Flodden branch of the YAC has now been approved and we’re really looking forward to the Big Dig.

“This is the first in a series of events we have planned to help young people discover the history of their area and hopefully spark a lifelong interest in archaeology.

“There was so much interest in the events we organised last year to mark 500 years since the Battle of Flodden, and we’re aiming to keep that momentum going. Events like the Big Dig are important, not just for young people who want to get involved, but also to let people know that the Ecomuseum is continuing and is developing all the time.”

Coal mining at Ford Moss Colliery started in the 17th century and the last mine closed in 1918.

Today, an old engine house and a large brick chimney are the most visual remains of the industry, but the team behind the Big Dig is hoping that they find more beneath the surface.

Paintings of some of the miners who worked there at the end of the 19th century can be seen on the walls of Ford School. They were painted by Louisa Lady Waterford, who was also responsible for building the school.

The Big Dig at Ford Moss Colliery runs from 10am to 2pm on Saturday, June 14. All children must be accompanied by an adult and should wear boots or stout shoes and old clothing because digging is a dirty business!

It’s also recommended they should have an up to date tetanus jab.

Jane Miller, who along with her five assistants on the dig has been through the rigorous Council for British Archaeology vetting system, said: “We want young people to come along and have a go, even if it’s just for an hour.

“You never know what you might find!”