Storm Desmond and the resulting floods in Carlisle have uncovered a treasure trove of artefacts including bottles and pottery.
Scattered amongst the ruins of flood defences at the edge of the city, thousands of pieces of 18th and 19th century life can be found.
Where once stood earth banks designed to withhold the River Eden, cables have also been exposed.
Thousands of tonnes of earth have been removed from the flood defences close to the Etterby Railway Bridge. The bridge spans the River Eden at a point just behind Carlisle’s famous castle.
This area has previously been inaccessible due to the soggy ground conditions so we were keen to see if any damage had been caused.
Tall metal fencing encloses much of the exposed area which will take many months and no doubt many thousands of pounds to repair.
Exposed plastic conduit, dark black earth and crumbling earthworks give the whole area quite a surreal feel as if it was part of a film set.
Due to the exposed sharp edges we did not venture into the main areas of debris but instead sent our human dad with his thick walking boots on.
He came back with a number of pictures of bottles including one from around 1790 and this clear glass bottle with the words ‘Dainty Morsels’ printed into the side.
We have not been able to work out what this bottle contained or where it came from. Let us know via the comments area below if you know.
Another find was a teapot with what appears to be it’s lid nearby. Battered and broken it has seen better days but we wondered what story it could tell.
Upon closer inspection many of the bottles appear to come from long forgotten Carlisle breweries.
Checking the web upon our return, it appears the nearby Caldewgate area of the city was once home to many pubs and brew houses.
With such a large number of items now exposed at this point along the River Eden it is puzzling as to where they came from.
One possible solution can be found in a report from 2014 made after some building works in nearby Bitts Park. An area upstream from our discoveries.
In the Finds Assessment area, section 5, of the report it indicates that the Archaelogists found a number of items of white earthenware and bottles. This is very similar to that we observed near to the Etterby Bridge.
The conclusions given in the online document were that the finds in Bitts Park were from one of the many 19th Century rubbish tips in the area. Well, we didn’t know that.
It also goes on to say that “The raised banks are the result of much of the area having been raised by the deposition of 19th century rubbish in order to prevent flooding from the nearby River Eden” .
It also turns out, according to the report, that the dark black colour of the soil could be as a result of cinder deposits. That is the stuff left behind after a fire and can make our paws very black indeed.
Until next time, here are some more of our photographs and we will try and keep an eye on the area as repair works get underway.
Licks and wags
Rufus and Charlie