Children get their hands dirty to dig into the past

Young Indiana Jones wannabes are being invited to get their hands dirty and discover more about north Northumberland’s past.

The Flodden Young Archaeologists’ Club is being launched next weekend with an exploration of the Ford Moss Colliery on the Ford and Etal Estate.

Aimed at eight to 17-year-olds with an interest in archaeology, the Big Dig on Saturday, June 14, gives young people the chance to learn basic archaeological excavation techniques and skills such as metal detecting and recording their finds.

They will also discover the art of interpreting lumps and bumps on the landscape.

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

Education officer Jane Miller said: “This is the first of a series of events we have planned to help young people discover the history of the 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.”

Coal mining at Ford Moss 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 to 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 runs from 10am to 2pm. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

For details contact Jane on 07768 557698,