Help unravel history's mysteries in North Devon

A series of archaeology projects looking at some of North Devon s more intriguing historical mysteries will be taking place in the coming weeks. The History Hunters events will be open to anyone over 16 years-old but in particular those who would not norm

A series of archaeology projects looking at some of North Devon's more intriguing historical mysteries will be taking place in the coming weeks.

The History Hunters events will be open to anyone over 16 years-old but in particular those who would not normally get the chance to take part in such activities.

The free informal workshops include trying to learn more about the ancient hill fort in Hillsborough in Ilfracombe, searching for legendary tunnels said to run under the streets of Barnstaple, excavating clearing and surveying a medieval ruin near Winkleigh and trying to find the landing site of the viking Hubba the Dane when he invaded Devon in the 9th century.

The projects take place on several days in February and March and are being run by North Devon Museums, in association with North Devon AONB.


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The History Hunters will look at four different North Devon sites, involving a mixture of indoor sessions and site visits to look for evidence and carry out geo physical surveys, including ground penetrating radar.

The Hillsborough project starts on February 18 and will seek to find out more about the old hill fort there, thought to be Iron Age, but no one knows for sure. It features an introduction day, two days on site and a final day to look at the evidence.

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Rumours persist in Barnstaple of tunnels running beneath the streets, connecting the town centre with Pilton and possibly other locations. The first session is on February 15 and the project will include seeking to find the cellars of the town and a geo physical survey of the High Street.

Medieval History Hunters will be working with ACE Archaeology Club on a tumbledown ruin at Broadwood Kelly near Winkleigh to try and discover more of its secrets.

Finally in March the hunt will be on for the landing site of the infamous Hubba the Dane, believed to have landed in North Devon in the ninth century with an army bent on the destruction of Alfred the Great and Wessex, but defeated by the men of Devonshire.

Several archaeologists believe this was at Countisbury near Lynmouth, but Northam and its Bloody Corner also claim the honour, while other theories include Castle Hill at Beaford and Somerset. The History Hunters will look at the documentary evidence and the landscape to see if they can help solve the mystery.

It is all part of the wider Adult Learning Forum (ALF,) led by the museum and set up following a �54,000 government grant to give people over 16 the opportunity to broaden their horizons and try something new with a variety of informal adult learning cultural activities, which also include crafts, dance, family history, conservation activities and more.

Some places are still available on the History Hunter events. To find out more about these and other ALF activities can visit www.northdevonalf.org.uk or call the museum on (01271) 346747.

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