Archaeologists excavating on environmentally protected land near Moorsholm, Yorkshire, on behalf of the North York Moors National Park Authority (NYMNPA) have uncovered evidence of what is believed to be a prehistoric farming settlement.
Traces of mounds, fields, enclosures, and boundary ditches emerged following an airborne LiDAR survey in 2016 and a follow-up earthwork survey in 2019. Now a community excavation led by DigVentures has unearthed post-holes and artefacts thought to date from the Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Roman periods.
Site director Nat Jackson, a project officer at DigVentures, told CA that April’s excavation yielded over 200 pieces of flint (including Neolithic scrapers), a late Neolithic or early Bronze Age arrowhead (above), and 32 pieces of pottery – all of which has been sent for specialist analysis.
‘Our assemblage is worked flint, burnt flint, and a handful of pottery,’ Nat said. ‘It’s probably all beach flint, as there’s very little flint in that area that would have been workable,’ he explained, adding that the site is located around five miles from the coast. ‘Some of the pottery is handmade, but I think it’s probably Romano-British or late Iron Age in tradition, rather than anything earlier. We’ll get the details when we get the report back.’
Most of the flint (around 100 pieces) was found in a single trench, near what Nat called ‘the focus of the prehistoric settlement’, where the team also found an enclosure, a ditch and bank, and a post-hole. ‘If we’d opened the trenches wider we might have found evidence of housing,’ Nat said, ‘but we couldn’t open too wide an area on the site because of the rare heathers and soils.’
The possibly Roman material, meanwhile, appears to have washed in from somewhere nearby. ‘It kind of makes sense that it’s a prehistoric site, given the fact that there are barrows all over the place and even potentially three barrows on-site,’ Nat said.
‘Thank you to everyone who helped us unearth the fascinating story of the site, and especially to the NYMNPA for inviting us to dig,’ he added. More details about the dig can be found at https://digventures.com/projects/.