Archaeologists excavate medieval timber hall

Archaeologists from the University of York have returned to Skipsea in East Yorkshire, England, to excavate the remains of a medieval timber hall.

Recent excavations unearthed a timber hall measuring 5 metres wide by 16 metres long, which was surrounded by a large ditched enclosure.

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The size and shape of the hall is marked by post holes, which the team plan to excavate further to provide new insights into the hall’s purpose and setting in the surrounding landscape.

The hall sits adjacent to a 13-meter-high mound, once presumed to be a motte and bailey castle. However, carbon dating has since revealed its age to be 1,500 years prior to the Norman Conquest era from during the Iron Age.

Dr Jim Leary, from the University of York’s Department of Archaeology, said: “The unearthing of timber buildings dating to the period between the collapse of the Roman Empire and the arrival of the Vikings, a time often referred to as the Dark Ages, is an incredibly rare and significant find.

“The discovery at Skipsea is particularly interesting because we know that the area was in the hands of the last Anglo-Saxon King of England, Harald Godwinson, and then later, after the Norman Conquest of 1066, it became the estate centre of the Lords of Holderness.”

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Skipsea was once home to three freshwater lakes, Skipsea Bail Mere, Skipsea Low Mere, and Skipsea Withow Mere, linked to the River Hull through a network of tributaries. These lakes (long-vanished), began 10,000 years ago during the Mesolithic period, and continued into the medieval period.

The lakes were a constant draw to population groups throughout history, which has provided archaeologists with Mesolithic stone tools, animal remains, bone harpoons, and Bronze Age buildings and trackways.

Header Image Credit : University of York

Sources : University of York

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

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