AN archaeology project aimed at documenting the history of a south Durham town has been launched.

Dozens of residents turned out for the launch of the Village Atlas project in Ferryhill this weekend.

The community project is being led by The Archaeological Practice and will see all aspects of the town’s history being investigated and documented.

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The project started with an ingathering event at the Dean Bank and Ferryhill Literary Institute on Saturday (February 2) where residents could meet the various historical experts involved and find out how they could take part.

Visitors were also urged to bring along old photographs, artefacts and documents covering all aspects of the area’s history which have been scanned and copied into the growing database.

The project covers the whole Ferryhill civil parish area, extending down to include Ferryhill Station, Chilton and features of geological and ecological interest such as Thrislington Quarry and Ferryhill Carrs.

The project is broad in scope as it also includes local geology, ecology and hydrology as well as history and archaeology.

Alan Rushworth from The Archaeological Practice, said: “The Ferryhill Village Atlas is a collaborative endeavour to explore all aspects of the Ferryhill area involving members of the local community, with local schools and groups such as Ferryhill Local History Society to the fore, and a group of specialist researchers coordinated by The Archaeological Practice.”

Volunteers can get involved with archaeological digs, documentary training and research, biodiversity sampling, geology walks and fossil hunts over the next few months.

The Ferryhill project is one of four Village Atlas’ currently taking place in the area, the other three being in Hetton, Penshaw and Easington.

It is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Limestone Landscapes Partnerships Project covering the Durham Magnesian Limestone plateau.

Anglo Saxon records show there has been a settlement at Ferryhill since 900AD although it is believed it only got its current name in 1200 when Sir Roger de Fery killed the last wild boar of Brancepeth near Cleves Cross Farm in the town.

Further information regarding all the Village Atlas projects can be found at