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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Dr Mark Kincey

Kincey, M.E., Batty, L., Chapman, H., Gearey, B., Ainsworth, S. & Challis, K. (2014). Assessing the changing condition of industrial archaeological remains on Alston Moor, UK, using multisensor remote sensing. Journal of Archaeological Science 45: 36-51.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Upland environments have the potential to preserve relatively undisturbed multi-period archaeological remains due to reduced anthropogenic impacts such as intensive agriculture. However, these environments can also be extremely fragile and susceptible to alternative pressures from insensitive land-use practices and their dynamic geomorphological setting. This paper presents the results of research focussing on the interactions between industrial heritage sites and their semi-natural landscape context within the upland landscapes of Alston Moor, North Pennines, UK. Change detection using multispectral Landsat data was combined with detailed mapping from airborne lidar, aerial photographs and fieldwork to quantify the rate and nature of the changing condition of selected industrial archaeological sites. Results indicate that extensive degradation has been occurring at a number of former lead mining sites over recent decades, primarily due to fluvial erosion in the form of gullying but with slope and aeolian processes also of significance in particular locations. Soil samples taken from actively eroding areas within Fletcheras Rake, one of the earliest documented lead mines in the area, suggest that the reworking and redistribution of sediments from former mining sites are releasing heavily contaminated sediments into the wider hydrological catchment. It is argued that a more complete understanding of the complex interrelationships and linkages between archaeological sites and the semi-natural environments in which they are situated can only be achieved through the combined application of research methods employed by both the archaeological and geomorphological disciplines.