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Calderstones and HER Research

6 December 2013 by Sam

ancient carvings on a large stone

Calderstones. Photograph by George Nash and Adam Stanford © Aerial-Cam

Over the last two months, three students from the University of Liverpool have been working with the Archaeology department on placements. They have worked on a range of tasks around archaeological collections, research, education and exhibitions. One student, Alys Randall-Smith, has blogged about the work she has undertaken using the Merseyside Historic Environment Record for her research.

The Merseyside Historic Environment Record (HER) was developed by the Merseyside Museums Service in partnership with the local authorities and the Merseyside Archaeologcial Society in the 1970s and 1980s. It contains information about sites of archaeological and historical interest identified from fieldwork, maps, and historical research. It forms part of a comprehensive network of historic environment records containing information on England’s past and our changing historic environment. Responsibility for the HER will shortly pass to the Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service (MEAS), who will then facilitate access to the Record, and maintain and update it on behalf of the five Merseyside borough councils (Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral).

Here’s what Alys has to say about her experience:

“As part of my degree in Evolutionary Anthropology I am required to carry out four weeks of fieldwork of my choice which is related to archaeology and my course. I was lucky enough to get a placement working for the Rainford’s Roots project in the Archaeology department of the Museum of Liverpool. I started in September working every Wednesday. Initially I had little knowledge to what I would actually be getting up to!

One of the first activities which I took part in was documentary research using the Historic Environment Record (HER). From my research I will produce a ‘Desk-based Assessment’ on Calderstones Park in Liverpool.

Calderstones Park in Allerton in Liverpool has a long and rich history. The park is most famous for its ‘Calderstones’ a set of stones adorned with Neoltihic rock-art which originally formed part of a burial structure. The stones have fantastic carvings of swirls and spirals which decorate them. The Calderstones have moved location from their original position and are currently stored in Harthill Greenhouse in Calderstones Park.

The HER was extremely useful for my Calderstones Park research as I was able to get hold of a lot of reports and site information detailing Allerton’s past. I discovered that a lot of the area featured other archaeological finds and sites other than the stones that are not as well known. These sites were mainly old houses such as the mansion in the park its self as well as other houses in the surrounding area.

After compiling my research in the HER, and carrying out further research at The University of Liverpool’s Sydney Jones Library, I will be able to create my first official report for the Museum of Liverpool which is known as a Desk-based Assessment. I shall write up all of my research into a report documenting each site in the Calderstones Park/Allerton area.

I have loved my time working as a student placement as it has broadened my knowledge of Liverpool and its surrounding areas but I have also had the chance to work with some interesting archaeologists and learn much more about what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to finding and documenting sites.

Alys Randall-Smith, Second Year Evolutionary Anthropologists, University of Liverpool.”

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