History Revealed by Tidal Surge

Tuesday 10/12/2013
History Revealed by Tidal Surge

The Tidal Surge which caused such devastation last week also uncovered a previously hidden historic site at Bamburgh. The WWII pillbox structure had been hidden under the sand dunes and is in excellent condition. It is possible that other sites may have been revealed in this way along the coast.  


The devastation caused by the recent huge tidal surge along the east coast of England has been widely reported. Another side effect of the surge here in the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is to uncover new archaeological sites.


The sand dunes are a remarkable dynamic environment and huge weather events such as the storm last Thursday, have the potential to both cover and uncover sites quickly as has happened at Bamburgh. The shipwreck, dating from around 1768, exposed in the spring has now been completely covered again under a sand bank and a WWII pillbox structure has been exposed due to the high tide undercutting the dune system.


The newly exposed pillbox on Bamburgh beach formed part of a long chain of defensive sites of other pillboxes, gun emplacements, anti-tank blocks and a radar station. The pillboxes along the coast take a variety of shapes and forms from square, rectangular, hexagonal and beehive and usually made from concrete shuttering reflecting the ad-hoc manner in which these buildings were hastily constructed. The pillbox at Bamburgh, like two others at Dunstan Steads and Dunstanburgh, is constructed of concrete sandbags with the hessian imprint still visible on the individual bags.


The Northumberland Coast AONB team would be very interested to hear about any other new sites exposed by the tidal surge and are keen to set up a group of volunteers to monitor known archaeological sites along the coast – please contact Jessica Turner to report new sites or to register as a volunteer email Jessica.turner@northumberland.gov.uk or 01670 622648

Published: Tuesday 10/12/2013

By Visit Northumberland

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