Kiplin Students Uncover a Storied Past through Site Archaeological Survey


Kiplin Hall, home of the University of Maryland’s study center in North Yorkshire, England, has always been a place rich in history. This semester, six architecture seniors are discovering that the history of the land is as legendary as Kiplin itself. Working alongside Professor Emeritus Karl Du Puy, archeologists and area volunteers, the students helped survey the Kiplin estate for clues of its hidden history as part of a funded project called “Charting Chipeling.” It is the largest archaeological survey ever conducted of the grounds of a North Yorkshire stately home.


At various times in history, the area where Kiplin is now situated was home to Ice Age-era hunter-gathers, invading Romans and medieval monks. Yet, the 150-acre landscape is largely unexplored. After a preliminary planning meeting in January, the team kicked off the project in earnest in early February, spending several rain-soaked days conducting surveys of the land, buildings and historic structures. Combining the survey results with archival studies from the county record office, the students are developing a series of site drawings, which will serve as the foundation for site excavations by the project’s archaeological firm, Solstice Heritage, later this summer.


This spring marks the fifth season Professor Emeritus Du Puy has led architecture students on an incredible semester of architectural discovery through the cities and countryside of Great Britain. A significant part of the journey is the study and on-site work at Kiplin, which has served as a living “work environment” for UMD students studying abroad since the 1980s. While the days of on-site “sweat equity” are long gone—since the student center became classified as a grade II property in 1986—today’s students continue to make valuable contributions to the estate’s ongoing development.


In addition to the Chipeling project, students are working to update renderings created by previous ARCH classes for the bog area west of the wall garden, a space the trustees have started to develop as a new, bridge-adorned marsh garden. The students also continue to evolve a set of design plans for a new visitor center, tearoom and modest exhibition room. An ambitious project over three years in the making, the trustees and a hired architect have used many of the student’s ideas for the preliminary designs.


“Our architecture students have made and continue to make the study center not only a ‘home away from home,’ but also a resource to be used as a living, working environment for ‘hands on’ study,” explains Du Puy. “Kiplin Hall and the entire estate offer many opportunities for ongoing research, documentation, design and development. It has proven a great asset to Maryland, the University and the students who have afforded themselves the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in North Yorkshire.”

Posted on March 6, 2014 by Molly O'Connell