Yorkshire Wolds

So Monday, I spent the day on a fieldtrip in the North York Wolds with the Yorkshire and Humber Planning and Conservation Team. We were bussed around to various sites in the Wolds. It was aimed at trying to convince the team that the National Monuments Record and the scheduled lists were no reflection on the amount of or importance of the archaeology in the Wolds. Every year new cropmarks are seen in aerial photography. None of these are scheduled or protected and so continue to be ploughed year after year.

In an attempt to protect the archaeological features, English Heritage are entering into a partnership with landowners. Around the Birdsall Estate (where we were first), the landowners are sympathetic to the archaeology but this is not always the case elsewhere unfortunately. Farmers are offered compensation so as they take the field out of  cultivation and leave it as pasture or sometimes the area around the monument is left uncultivated. Local groups also go out to clear away scrub from some features.

This is one of five Bronze Age round barrows in this field on the Birdsall Estate. The other four have been levelled and are only visible as cropmarks. This one while being preserved has had a water tank built on top, he’s not gonna plough that out.

We also visited Weavethorpe church, a Norman built church which has been protected from closure recently by community intervention and education.

Weaverthorpe Church

We went out to see the Vale of Pickering from the edge of the Wolds where Dominic Powelsland has worked for over 30 years on this landscape through combined aerial remote sensing, geophysics, field survey and excavation. This level of work and detail is unmatched anywhere else in the world and despite the amount of work, new discoveries are still being made all the time indicating the level of use of this landscape in the past. The site of a Mesolithic lake (Star Carr), the lake has dried up over the years and archaeological features are visiblefrom every period  through to the 21st Century.
The Vale of Pickering where 30 years of archaeological research has produced a record to a level of detail unmatched anywhere else in the world

Finally we visited the Rudston Monolith and the Burton Agnes Norman Manor House. The Rudston Monolith is 7.6m (and that’s above ground, imagine whats underneath) tall and dates to the Neolithic period. Four cursus cut through the landscape around it. 
The Rudston Monolith

Burton Agnes Norman Manor House
Manor House Undercroft

Just as a side note, today York hosted the Olympic Torch run. Having missed it when it came to Dublin I got a second chance to see it as it ran down towards the Micklegate Bar in York. Another highlight of this trip, Wednesday better not dissapoint between fieldtrips, aerial photography basics and Olympic torches I have very high expectations of York now 🙂

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