The Dearne has a surprising amount of archaeology from across the eras

The work carried out through the heritage audit as part of the development of the DVLP has shown the sheer quantity and quality of the archaeology within the Dearne Valley. It has also shown how much more there is to learn. The sites are spread across the area and illustrate the development of the area indicated in later sections.

What the audit has clearly demonstrated is the significant amount of prehistoric and Romano-British sites, with evidence of industry throughout the eras. This ranges from early bell pits in Wombwell Woods, all the way through to the remains of glassworks and brickworks.  There are remnants of tramways and railways from the 1830s to link collieries. At Houndhill there are remains from 1640 of a Royalist Garrison and then at Bolton there are remains of a World War 2 anti-aircraft gun battery.

Throughout the area there is evidence of Iron Age or Romano-British field boundaries and the footprint of Wombwell Woods remains virtually unchanged since these times.  There is evidence of Bronze Age barrows and medieval earthworks across the area, with crop marks giving glimpses of the further discoveries to be made.

The 2014 exhibition at Experience Barnsley – “The Romans are Coming!” brought together a number of finds from across the Dearne and showed the scale of Roman settlements through the area. A copy of an illustration from the exhibition is included on the next page. This shows the potential to learn more about the level of occupation, the timing of development and the impact on the area. The noted Barnsley born archaeologist Professor Joann Fletcher even believes there could evidence of mummified remains in the area as a result of the spread of the practice across from North Africa to Europe with the Romans. This claim received national media attention.

The audit has brought together for the first time in one place details of all the sites in one document. It has also clearly identified an approach to take with learning more through the use of both professional archaeologist and working with local communities.