Sandhills Project, Alderley Edge, Cheshire

Eleanor Conlin Casella, 2009

Data copyright © Dr Eleanor Conlin Casella unless otherwise stated

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Dr Eleanor Conlin Casella
School of Art History and Archaeology
University of Manchester
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Eleanor Conlin Casella (2009) Sandhills Project, Alderley Edge, Cheshire [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

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Reconstructed figurine from the excavations

The Alderley Sandhills Project (ASP) was established in 2003 and funded through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund, a government initiative to fund projects investigating or restoring sites from which aggregates were extracted. The area south of Alderley Edge known as the Sandhills had until the 1960s been covered by a highly polluted sand residue from the copper extraction process. The aim had been to investigate both the slow regeneration process of the flora and fauna in the area of the Sandhills themselves, and to excavate two pairs of miners' cottages which had stood in their lee as a combined cross-disciplinary undertaking. However, funding arrangements and logistics meant that only the cottages could be studied. Excavation of a domestic site of the industrial period ('historical archaeology') is still novel in the UK: in this case the excavators could also use old photographs and the memories of surviving inhabitants, recreating a sense of identity with the past, heightened by involving local and Manchester schools and members of the local community. The excavation used techniques of environmental archaeology, combined with a study of the present flora of the site by the Museum's botanists to interpret the flower and vegetable gardens of the cottages, setting their conclusions beside the memories of the former inhabitants.

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