A Neolithic to Late Roman Landscape on the North-east Yorkshire Coast: excavations at Street House, Loftus, 2004-2017

Lying 2km from Loftus in North Yorkshire, Street House is home to a diverse span of archaeological evidence reflecting more than 4,500 years of activity. Stephen Sherlock has been excavating at the site since 2004, and these investigations have uncovered finds ranging from traces of Neolithic settlement to a nationally significant Anglo-Saxon cemetery including the ‘bed burial’ of a high-status woman (as reported in CA 281).

This book is the third volume produced about Sherlock’s work at Street House, and documents discoveries dating from c.4000 BC to the end of the Roman period. Its contents comprise the results of research carried out between 2004 and 2017, methodically synthesising years of excavations and presenting the finds by period. Drawing together excavated evidence, geophysical surveys, and aerial photography, this is a densely detailed exploration of a site crammed with fascinating features. These include early Neolithic buildings; a later Iron Age enclosed settlement that subsequently evolved and expanded in the 1st century AD into a more open area of occupation that also preserves evidence for salt production; and evidence for Romano-British activity including jet-working.

With the chronological chapters focusing primarily on evidence for structures and production, Chapter 5 delves deeply into artefactual evidence, cataloguing finds by type and exploring comparable discoveries from other sites. Meanwhile, a concluding discussion brings everything together, exploring the significance of the finds as a whole, and placing the site in its immediate environs and in its wider regional context. Adding to this picture, we hear about discoveries on the site from earlier campaigns, such as the ‘Street House Wossit’, a late Neolithic/early Bronze Age monument first identified in the 1980s.

Illustrated with both colour and black-and-white photographs as well as plentiful diagrams, this book is a very useful reference for anyone studying the archaeology of the Tees Valley, as well as an invaluable addition to our understanding of this region and, more specifically, this unusual and illuminating site.

A Neolithic to Late Roman Landscape on the North-east Yorkshire Coast: excavations at Street House, Loftus, 2004-2017, Stephen J Sherlock, Tees Archaeology, £15, ISBN 978-0953274765.

Review by CH.