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Image by Illiya Vjestica


A community archaeology project at Under Whitle

Peeling Back the Layers was a hands-on educational project, run by the Tudor Farming Interpretation Group (TFIG). A wide range of people investigated the history and archaeology of Whitle, Sheen and the surrounding landscape. Groups and individuals joined together with primary and secondary schools, young archaeologists, local history enthusiasts and mental health groups in a fascinating exploration of our local heritage.

In 2004, an archaeological survey undertaken by Jim Rylatt of the Peak District National Park (Rylatt, J., 2005 ) identified a number of possible medieval or post-medieval features at Under Whitle. Research by the TFIG uncovered documents establishing the existence of farms and families in the Tudor period.

This project extended the historical research and peeled back the layers, to reveal the archaeological features and treasures beneath the ground!

We have interpreted everything we discovered, creating a comic aimed at 7 to 11-year-olds, which was given out to all the schools involved, held public events, created a self-guided trail around the site, complete with interpretation panels at key places and took a travelling exhibition and programme of talks around the surrounding towns and villages.  We even appeared at Derbyshire Archaeology Day in Chesterfield and the CBA West Midlands: News From the Past Day in Birmingham.

We have also started working on the publication of a book – actually two! One about the project as a whole and another dedicated to the Sheen Graveyard Survey.

The project has now ended but you can still visit the site and explore the history and archaeology discoveries on the self-guided trail.

Find us on social media:

We used three (or strictly speaking, four) different forms of survey:  geophysics (resistivity, magnetometry); tape and offset; and LIDAR.

The excavations took place in June and July 2016. with the help of students from Buxton Community School and St Thomas More’s School, Buxton.

Volunteers worked with Dr. Simon Harris, a medieval historian, to investigate Whitle and its links to the surrounding area.

Once all the fieldwork was completed and the finds analysed we then moved to work out what it all meant.

Local schools, young archaeologists, history and mental wellbeing groups have all been to Under Whitle working with historians & archaeologists. 

The survey of St Luke’s Graveyard in Sheen was to try to find out something of the people who had lived in the area known as Whitle over many centuries.

Learn about the things we’ve found out during our research, through the work of volunteers, the reports on the surveys and the raw LiDAR data.

We have created an Education Pack - a resource for teachers in KS2 to support, chiefly, the teaching of aspects of the Primary National Curriculum in History but also other subjects.


the Whitle Times

Take a look at the Whitle Times -
the project’s very own comic. Click on the image to downlod the comic (PDF).

The answers to all the puzzles are here: Activity Answers – but no cheating! Enjoy!

Whitle Times Picture.png
Whitle Times.png
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