Students discover archaeology on their doorstep

Project archaeological works provide first-hand history lesson for Outwood Academy Bydales students.

Archaeology dig on former WWI airfield

History students from Outwood Academy Bydales in Marske-by-the Sea got a glimpse of their local area’s past with a visit to an archaeology dig being carried out for Sofia and neighbouring project Dogger Bank C.

Twenty students from the school’s Year 8 cohort were invited to see the World War I practice trenches uncovered by Durham University’s Archaeological Services (DUAS) as part of pre-construction survey activity.

The excavation and recording work was carried out at the projects'  landfall sited between Marske-by-the-Sea and Redcar, just a 200m walk for the students who were able to see history on their doorstep.

Archaeologists from Durham University talked about the archaeological works on the site, why they are necessary for an offshore wind farm and how the information is recorded and analysed. Also highlighted to the students was a career many may not associate with the offshore wind sector but which plays a key role.

Their history teacher Gemma Green was able to give them details about why the more-than-100 year old trenches were there and the wider historical context. During WWI, the area was an airfield, set up as a ‘finishing school’ for pilots to learn combat flying.

The site near the landfall is now a modern housing estate known as The Landings, with streets named after people and aircraft connected with World War II, despite the airfield not being used during that conflict.

Archaeologist Peter Carne said: “It is great that these offshore wind projects provided the opportunity to uncover the remains of WWI in the area, and we are really pleased that local children have been able to visit and see for themselves.”

Gemma Green, who accompanied the children to the site said: “What an opportunity to witness WW1 history on our doorstep! We usually associate trenches with Northern France and Belgium but this gave our students and staff the chance to uncover that soldiers practiced digging trenches here in Marske before heading to the Western Front. This really brought history to life”.

July 2021