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Yorkshire Archaeology in the news

Lost orchards, Roman roads, and hut circles

posted 14 Feb 2012, 16:26 by Paul Brayford

From Harrogate News 9 Feb 2012

New clues to the history of North Yorkshire have been unearthed by local archaeology groups – and published on the internet for all to see.

More than 2,500 newly recorded archaeological sites – and new information on many previously known sites – have been posted by North Yorkshire County Council in the online North Yorkshire Historic Environment Record.

The new sites have come to light as a result of the hard work of several community archaeology projects.

They include:
the ‘lost orchards of Nidderdale’, recognised by the Historic Parks and Gardens in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty project as playing an important part in the landscape, ecology and economy of the Nidderdale area. Marie-Anne Hintze from the project said: “It is very rewarding to us to feel that we have a means of sharing our information with other interested parties.”
Previously unknown hut circles indicating Iron Age settlement at North Stainley, near Ripon. The site was identified by the Ripon Community Archaeology Project as part of its long-running project to document the archaeology of parishes in the area.
A large body of work on sites in and around Northallerton, carried out as part of the Northallerton Local History Project. Additional information on the route of a Roman road from Thornton le Street through Northallerton and beyond will be added to the online records as work progresses. “The internet enables the dissemination of local knowledge, whilst at the same time encouraging contributions that would not otherwise be available locally,” said John Sheehan, Secretary of Northallerton and District Local History Society. “Undoubtedly this widens the pool of local historical knowledge and facilitates the exchange of information on a sometimes national basis”.

More at http://harrogate-news.co.uk/2012/02/09/lost-orchards-roman-roads-and-hut-circles/

Grave discovery

posted 14 Feb 2012, 16:22 by Paul Brayford

From Pontefract and Castleford Express 13 Feb 2012

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed the remains of a medieval burial ground at St Giles’ Church in Pontefract.

Ten medieval graves were unexpectedly discovered during ongoing building works at the site.

Archaeologists from West Yorkshire Archaeological Services (WYAS) also uncovered the foundations of what is believed to have been the earliest church to occupy the Market Place site.

Ian Roberts, archaeologist overseeing the work for WYAS and the Wakefield Diocese, said: “Churches invariably preserve some of the earliest medieval archaeology in our historic towns and it is only occasionally that the opportunity arises to investigate, evaluate and record the evidence that survives.

More at  http://www.pontefractandcastlefordexpress.co.uk/news/local/more-local-news/grave_discovery_1_4231118

Yorkshire heritage under threat as treasures are stolen to order

posted 12 Feb 2012, 08:52 by Paul Brayford

Yorkshire Post 7 Jan 2012

A TREASURE trove of antiques and artefacts worth hundreds of thousands of pounds has been stolen from or damaged in Yorkshire’s museums and stately homes in recent years, a Yorkshire Post investigation has found.

In addition to a spate of thefts from the region’s most famous stately homes, in which priceless furniture, porcelain figurines, mantle clocks and gold trophies have been stolen to order, many other items which make up the county’s heritage has been lost or accidentally damaged, Freedom of Information requests have revealed.

More at http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/at-a-glance/main-section/yorkshire_heritage_under_threat_as_treasures_are_stolen_to_order_1_4117881

Leeds Treasure Hoard

posted 9 Nov 2011, 14:40 by Paul Brayford

A precious hoard of golden treasure that lay in a Leeds field for more than a thousand years could be sold off unless museum-goers help raise the cash needed to keep it in the city.


The Guardian Northerner Blog: Leeds needs a hand to keep its golden hoard


Rediscovery of Roman amphitheatre at Aldborough

posted 23 Aug 2011, 06:06 by Paul Brayford

After two years of surveying and centuries of speculation, archaeologists from Cambridge University have finally confirmed the existence of a Roman amphitheatre and an adjoining stadium lying under an area known as Studforth Hill, in the Yorkshire village of Aldborough. This brings to ten the number of confirmed amphitheatre remains in England, of which the best known are at Cirencester, Chester, Chichester, Dorchester, the Guildhall in London and Silchester.

The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2011/aug/17/lost-yorkshire-amphitheatre-aldborough
The Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2027370/Lost-Roman-amphitheatre-hilltop-near-Yorkshire-village.html

Excavations in Doncaster

posted 4 Aug 2011, 15:55 by Paul Brayford   [ updated 4 Aug 2011, 16:06 ]

Archaeologists working on the site of a Roman cremation cemetery in Doncaster have unearthed a rare Roman glass jug dating back to around AD150 and attracted public interest.


Visitors flock to step back in time‎ from Doncaster Free Press

Crowds out in force to see the past unearthed‎ from The Star

Community excavation at Sheffield farms

posted 4 Aug 2011, 15:40 by Paul Brayford

Amateur archaeologists who have joined a dig on the site of a Sheffield's Heeley City Farm have helped uncover what life was like in the area a century ago:

Whats lurking under our heels in Heeley?‎ from The Star

Meanwhile, at Whirlow Hall Farm artefacts dating back to the Mesolithic have been found:

Time team dig up the dirt: experts push back origins of farming in city’s history from Sheffield Telegraph

Volunteers unearth evidence of Iron Age settlement in Yorkshire city‎ from Yorkshire Post

Yorkshire Museum buys rare sapphire ring‎

posted 4 Aug 2011, 15:24 by Paul Brayford

A rare sapphire ring, discovered by a metal detector enthusiast, has been bought by the Yorkshire Museum.

The museum has raised £35,000 to purchase the piece of jewellery, which archaeologists described as a "spectacular" find.

The ring, found near York and measuring 2.5cm across, could have been made as early as the 7th Century.

It was found by Michael Greenhorn from the York and District Metal Detecting Club in April 2009



£35k ring bought by Yorkshire Museum‎ from The Press

Archaeologists warn ‘thoughtless’ attacks could destroy moorland relics

posted 14 Jul 2011, 15:30 by Paul Brayford

From llkley Gazette 14 July 2011

Vandals could be destroying some of the country’s most valuable carved rocks and stones, experts warned yesterday.

A principal West Yorkshire archaeologist says he has “serious concerns” about the future of the carved rocks and stones on Rombalds Moor, Ilkley, after a spate of attacks.

He believes their lifespan could be cut short by a black dye, which has been daubed on some of the carvings.

The latest attacks was reported this week when dye was daubed on the Idol Stone on Ilkley Moor, apparently highlighting some of its features. Ian Sanderson, principal archaeologist at the West Yorkshire Archaeological Advisory Service, described the act as thoughtless. “We’ve got serious concerns,” he said.

“The archaeology on Rombalds Moor and the carved rocks are all of national importance.

“The actual grafitti damage and the chemicals can impregnate the rocks and lead to increased erosion.

“Removal is difficult and can be problematic. It’s thoughtless activity which can be destructive of very important archaeological remains which belong to all of us. It’s criminal activity as well.”

Read more in the Ilkley Gazette.

(c) 2011 Newsquest Media Group

Torc of the town

posted 13 Jul 2011, 16:27 by Paul Brayford   [ updated 13 Jul 2011, 16:31 ]

From Pontefract & Castleford Express Saturday 9 July 2011

AMATEUR archaeologists Andy Green and Shaun Scott have unearthed a hoard of 2,000-year-old treasure worth more than £500,000.

The Castleford Asda warehouse workers have spent three years uncovering the rare artefacts which are believed to be part of the lost treasure of first century British queen Cartimandua.

The duo believe their haul – found on private land in North Yorkshire – is “just the tip of the iceberg” and they expect to find more of the hidden fortune.

One of the pieces the pair found – a large gold torque – is to be sold at auction in London on October 6 and could fetch more than £350,000.

Mr Green, 46, a former field operative for West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, said: “Everyday people only see artefacts of this quality through glass cases in museums. Even the owners of the land did not believe how valuable these things were.

“This is a once in a lifetime find and just the tip of the iceberg. We believe there is a lot more to discover and there is still a lot of work to do. We have only worked on five per cent of the land. It is going to change a lot of lives.”

Since 2008, the pair have unearthed three gold torques (worn around the arm or neck), two Celtic gold staters (coins), a gold pin and a Viking ring.

Mr Green added: “We found the treasure by using metal detectors and through archaeological techniques. I can tell just by walking across a site if it is likely to produce any important finds.

“I knew these were valuable because they were made of gold, but I’ve learned a lot since then. The staters and the artefacts have all come from the same source. I believe there is a good possibility these are the royal artefacts, but we need more evidence.”

Mr Green said all the pieces apart from the large gold torque had been subject to treasure trove inquests and were now in the Yorkshire and British Museums.

He added: “I cleaned the large torque with lemon juice, so when the British Museum analysed it, it was recorded as a Bronze Age piece. We did our own metal composition and we have proved it’s an Iron Age piece, like the rest of the artefacts we found.”

The cleaning of the torque – stripping away some of its patina – meant the British Museum could not continue to analyse it so it was returned to the two men.

Mr Green worked for the archaeological service in the 1980s, later setting up his own business as a property developer.

When the property market crashed in 2008, he started work part-time at Asda and, with help from colleague Mr Scott, reignited his archaeology hobby.

Mr Green said: “I thought it was the right time to return to the site. I just asked Shaun if he’d like to come with me, he’d never done anything like that before. I told him it might change his life, and it looks like it could do.”

Mr Scott, 44, said: “The first time Andy asked me to go to the site I said no. I didn’t fancy spending my day off standing in the middle of a field.

“A few months later he asked me again and I went, just as a favour really. It has been a real journey since then, when we found the artefacts I was so excited I didn’t sleep for three days. It has been extremely hard work but this is just the start, we have only worked on a small area. There is a lot of work still to do, but we are hopeful we will find the rest of the hoard.”

The story of Queen Cartimandua – who hid her fortune when she was rescued by the Romans after her northern kingdom came under attack in the first century – looks likely to be the subject of a television documentary put together by producer Russell Dever.

He said: “The person who finds the golden hoard may well stumble on the resolution of a 2,000 mystery. Exactly where Cartimandua’s royal stockade was positioned remains open to discussion.”

Mr Green added: “I want to thank archaeology consultants John Bugless and Simon Tomson, Amy Downes from West Yorkshire Archaeology Service portable antiquities scheme, Dr Keith Emerick from English Heritage, Richard Van Riel, former curator at Pontefract Museum, and solicitor Ian McCombie for all their help.

“We are not just in it for the money side of things, we have donated some items to the Yorkshire Museum. There are great plans and there will be books and documentaries made about what we have found.

“It makes you think – do you find the treasure, or does the treasure find you?”

(c) 2011 Johnston Publishing Ltd

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