Project to record sites

The remains of a medieval chapel on a cliff edge on National Trust Land, Morecambe Bay.
The remains of a medieval chapel on a cliff edge on National Trust Land, Morecambe Bay.
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A community-led project aims to tackle the threat of extreme weather, rising sea levels and tidal erosion on archaelogical sites in Morecambe Bay.

CITiZAN, the Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network will be working at a number of important sites across the country including Jenny Brown’s Point and Heysham Head overlooking Morecambe Bay.

CITiZAN is calling on local volunteers to help survey and monitor these nationally-important but vulnerable archaeological sites before they disappear.

One of the largest community archaeology projects in the country, taking in 5,600 miles of coastline

over 500 miles of tidal foreshore, CITiZAN runs free community-based training on key sites including some significant sites along Lancashire’s coastline.

Armed with tape measures, buckets and mobile phones, volunteers create standardised records of exposed archaeological sites.

Heysham Head, on National Trust land, has a Grade I listed Chapel dedicated to St Patrick’s and a series of rock cut graves, unique to the England. Despite their national importance, these sites are at constant risk of disappearing in to the sea as the cliff they rest on continues to erode.

Similarly the Grade II listed copper smelting site at Jenny Brown’s Point, also on Morecambe Bay is predicted to vanish within the century so urgent work needs to take place to better understand its history before it is lost.

Andy Sherman, York-based CITiZAN Archaeologist, said: “The coast of the North of England is one of the most rapidly eroding shorelines in the United Kingdom.

“Lying along this coast is a host of rare and fragile archaeological sites. It is vital to record them before they are destroyed by coastal erosion and lost forever.

“The CITiZAN Project enables members of the public to take ownership of this their archaeology and record their precious coastal heritage.”

Via a web-based recording system (citizan.org.uk – live July 27) and app, a constantly evolving

crowd-sourced database and interactive map of sites is being compiled.

The database preserves the knowledge of these important sites forever and is a unique and valuable resource that opens the door to new research opportunities.

Hosted by MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology), the CITiZAN project has been awarded £1.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, enhanced by the National Trust and The Crown Estate’s stewardship programme, together with support from Historic England.

The three-year project operates across England from regional centres: with MOLA in London, with partners the Council for British Archaeology in York and the Nautical Archaeology Society in Portsmouth.

For more information about CITiZAN and local training opportunities and events visit the CITiZAN website citizan.org.uk.