Archaeology project is documenting Yorkshire’s lost medieval village

A community led excavation is documenting a recently discovered medieval village at High Hunsley in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England.

The excavation is being led by Ethos Heritage in partnership with Humber Timelines, under the direction of Richard Coates and Emma Samuel.

According to the Domesday book, a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales from the early Medieval period, the village is located 6 miles from the medial urban centre of Beverly.

 

Based on non-invasive geophysical surveys, Ethos heritage began excavating a suspected house platform in July 2022, revealing animal bones and teeth (amounting to 8.7kg), and the remains of a dog and pig mandible. Signs of butchery and burning were evidenced, suggesting that the area may have been part of a midden or yard.

Image Credit : Leon Corneille-Cowell

Approximately 12.7kg of pottery was uncovered, consisting of Medieval glaze and Green glaze, Coarse ware, Shell tempered Grey slip ware, and Shell tempered and Humber ware. The excavation also revealed a large quantity of jug handles, leading to the theory that the structure may have been a tavern or pub of some description.

Based on the recovered pottery, the team are able to construct a chronology of activity, indicating that the site was occupied between with the 14th and 15th century, with reduced activity in the 16th century.

A variety of metal and other miscellaneous objects were also found, including six iron knives, window lead, working tools, and several copper alloy personal items and pieces of jewellery.

 

Over 150 volunteers took part in the excavation, including university students, enthusiastic amateurs, children from a local special needs school and their families. Part of the project is to educate student volunteers on how to manage an archaeological site and run a community project, with the main aim of the project focused on using archaeology to aid those who are vulnerable or unemployed, or at risk of social exclusion.

Excavations will continue in the summer of 2023 to reveal further evidence of the building platform, a possible wall, and examine the relationship between further structures on the site to a Holloway.

A spokesperson for the project said: “This year will include not just locals, but participants from the USA and Japan. Projects like High Hunsley are a perfect demonstration of how wide the ‘community’ in community archaeology can be, not only including people from the local area but also bringing together participants from completely different cultures and time zones; with the one commonality being a passion for the past.”

Ethos Heritage

Header Image Credit : Leon Corneille-Cowell

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