Monthly Archives: December 2014

North East explosion followed by loud bangs across UK – with theories including meteors and spy planes

A mystery explosion in Catterick in the early hours of Saturday morning has been followed by further reports of loud bangs across the country – leading to wild theories about meteors and spy planes.

The massive bang reported at around 3am on Saturday, heard in the Marne Barracks area of Catterick Village, resulted in the A1 being closed for more than 12 hours while extensive searches were carried out.

Police found no obvious signs of an explosion and say they may never know what caused the noise, although investigations are still ongoing.

Later on Saturday night, at around 10pm, people across Britain reported hearing loud bangs which experts have claimed could have been caused by a jet engine, fuelling some theories that they could have come from a top secret fighter plane.

The bangs could be heard from Glasgow to West Sussex and Devon and social media was awash with ideas about what could have created the noise which shook windows, woke children and alarmed animals.

A Sheffield-based engineering research associate among a team of scientists working the technology behind types of pulse detonation engine said test engines could often be heard for miles.

Dr Bhupendra Khandelwal said:

“When we run a test engine it’s a real industrial noise and you can hear it for miles. We have people coming to us asking to make less noise or keep it to the daytime.”

 The engine works by using the force from a series of explosions, caused by mixing a fuel mist and air intake, to thrust itself forward. It is thought to be able to power planes at five times the speed of sound.

The technology builds upon ‘pulsejet‘ principles which first emerged in the early 1900s and were used in German V-1 flying bombs.

Test flights using the most recent forms of the technology have lasted only a few seconds, but it is still listed by conspiracy theorists as a possible way of powering the so-called Aurora spy jet.

The theorists have cited Aurora – a name which appeared in a Pentagon budget report in the 1980s – as an ongoing spy plane project for several years.

 After the Catterick explosion officers carried out extensive searches in the area where the explosion was reported but found no obvious signs of an explosion.

During the course of the day, eight members of the public came forward to report hearing a what they describe as an explosion in the area.

Superintendent Dave Hannan of North Yorkshire Police said:

“We are satisfied that the call to the police was made with good intent.

“The investigation is still ongoing but there is no information or evidence to say this reported explosion was a criminal or deliberate act.”

Source –  Northern Echo, 01 Dec 2014

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Opencast operation on land north of Newcastle reveals new prehistoric site

The Brenkley archaeological site
The Brenkley archaeological site

More evidence has emerged of what is described as a “dynamic” landscape of prehistoric settlements in the North East.

Excavations carried out by Headland Archaeology at the Brenkley Lane surface mining site to the north of Newcastle have revealed an Iron Age settlement across a five-hectare area which is centred on four roundhouses within a double rectangular enclosure.

The Iron Age dated from around 800BC to the Roman conquest.

The two month-long dig, on behalf of operators Banks Mining, has revealed a complex series of archaeological features spread across the site, with the remains being grouped into three main phases of activity.

Most of the remains uncovered relate to an extensive period of occupation during the Iron Age, with a series of large rectangular ditches enclosing several concentrations of ring gullies, which are the foundation trenches of the settlement’s buildings.

Pits and other features, such as boundary and enclosure ditches, have also been uncovered, suggesting that buildings had been rebuilt several times.

Objects uncovered include Iron Age quern stones for processing grain, a spindle whorl for weaving, ceramic vessels used in salt transportation and Bronze Age pottery, suggest that a mixture of domestic and food-processing activities were carried out in the area, with features nearby thought to relate to the management of livestock.

An early Bronze Age cemetery, dating from between 2,100BC and 750BC, is represented by three cremations, while a period of medieval activity between 500 and 1,500 years ago is shown by a grain-drying kiln and extensive rig-and-furrow agriculture.

In 2008, one of the most complete Iron Age settlements to be excavated in the North East, which comprised approximately 50 roundhouses in an enclosed two-hectare area, was unearthed at Banks’s now-restored Delhi surface mine on the Blagdon Estate near Seaton Burn.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, said:

“It’s fascinating to see how this area was worked and inhabited through the ages.

“We’ve worked closely with archaeologists across many of our sites for several years to ensure that detailed investigations are carried out and proper records kept.

“These discoveries simply wouldn’t be coming to light without the surface mining work .

“We’re very pleased that our coal mining operations at Brenkley Lane have led to these latest discoveries which further enhance the understanding of our region’s history.”

Ed Bailey, project manager at Headland Archaeology, said:

“The results of our work have added to the growing body of Iron Age sites around Newcastle that have been excavated in recent years which suggests a dynamic landscape of interrelated settlements across the area during this period.”

Previous discoveries as the Dellhi and Shotton surface mining sites have included a regular system of prehistoric landscape division.

Pit alignments ran perpendicular to the south bank of the River Blyth, which archaeologist Jon McKelvey suggests may have marked off areas such as pasture, woodland and access to water for communities.

Three large Iron Age settlements have also been revealed at Blagdon Park and East and West Brunton, with substantial banks and ditches designed to illustrate the wealth and power of the occupants.

It is now thought that in the late Iron Age the coastal plain, for at least 25km north of Newcastle, was covered with settlements at 1km intervals.

An Anglo-Saxon settlement was also found at Shotton consisting of six halls.

Source –  Newcastle Journal,  28 Nov 2014

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