In 2005, when the Department of Archaeology in the School of Continuing Education closed, at the University of Leeds, a number of students were eager to continue to use their acquired knowledge, so 12 members formed the Group under the guidance of Dr Roger Martlew, and there are now more than sixty members.
The group meets regularly, on the 1st Thursday of the month; the programme consists of talks between October and April, and walks or visits to places of archaeological and historical interest in the summer. There are also occasional walks and visits during the day or at weekend. Winter talks are held in Skipton and cover a wide range of related topics.
An investigation of the former mill and hamlet of Moorfoot at Whitfield Syke, Embsay has just been completed and members are currently involved with a project recording the Traditional Farm Buildings in the Kettlewell with Starbotton parish. In addition to our own programme, we work closely with the Yorkshire Dales Landscape Research Trust, mainly in Upper Wharfedale. Past surveys have included most of the land around Threshfield Quarry, and surveying and recording the existing buildings within the quarry, prior to re-development. We also surveyed a number of different sites, including the Druid’s Altar on Malham Moor, the earthworks at Long Ashes, Kilnsey Town Piece, Langcliffe Scar and High Close, Grassington.
Members have assisted each summer for a number of years with the excavations at Chapel House Wood, in conjunction with the YDLRT. We were involved with the clearing and excavation of the Grotto in the Wilderness, for Skipton Civic Society, and have also taken part in various excavations in conjunction with Ingleborough Archaeology Group, including a corn drying kiln and a lime kiln in Kilnsey.
Photo: Excavating the village bread oven at Hartlington in the Wharfe valley
As a result of the Whitfield Syke Project, a sub-group was formed to investigate the documentary history of the village of Embsay, leading to projects recording the boundary stones on Embsay Moor and investigating the surrounding walls.
Members have also worked with other local organisations, including the Skipton Civic Society, the Kilnsey and Conistone Parish Council and helped with the recording and cataloguing at the Craven Museum, Skipton.
Membership of the group offers opportunities for involvement with documentary research, topographical and geophysical survey work, excavation, finds recording, post excavation analysis and report writing.
Further Details of our activities and our programme may be found on our website www.uwhg.org.uk