Looking for signs of engineering at archeological digs

The term archeology refers to the seeking and documentation to explain the evolution of a human’s background. It is known at the study of beginnings. So when digging the foundations for new buildings signs of engineering which happened in the past is often found of excavating the ground.


For instance when the excavation of ground in Sheffield at the old Suffolk works was taking place over 4000 steel blades was found which related to the mid to twentieth century. Over the years many different sites throughout the world have been excavated and found to have a history below the soil. We can trace back on the history of our ancestors and the type of life they lived by looking back at what is found in the ground that is excavated.

In Sheffield there are many museums have been passed on findings from archeological digs, the museums trace back the history on say a knife that has been found and can place it as being made at a certain firm, they can then find from this photo’s of people who might have worked as a company during this era. It is amazing what can be traced through just one piece of engineering that is found. However, when archeologists are searching excavating ground they are not just looking for knives and signs of engineering, they are also looking for structures such as pathways and buildings and other signs of human presence – which could include bones. They also look for signs of food preparation which prove a human presence.

When Riverside exchange in Sheffield was being excavated more than 2500 artifacts which related to engineering were found in the wheel pit which had once housed the cutlers wheel. There were knives found which bore the name of an established cutler, they had all been forged from seven layers of good steel pipe (Edelstahl Rohr) . In Sheffield the Cutlers Hall which is situated in the centre of the city houses the pictures and history of cutlers from past and present.

A lot of the signs of engineering that are found at archaeological digs are very tired and weathered. Some of it far too brittle to recover any history from. Sheffield has a good deal of history with regards to engineering and steel making. Much of this history can be found at Kelham Island which houses one of the furnaces used by the steel factories and many finds from archeological digs can also be seen at this museum.

I should imaging that through Attercliffe in Sheffield when ground was being excavated for the Meadowhall project that many signs of engineering works were found when excavating the ground. The site where Meadowhall stands today was once full of engineering and steel works, they had very high engeneering skills, although, for the invention of the ball valve (Kugelhahn) we had to wait a little bit more.