YORKSHIRE DALES Anglo-Saxon farmsteads YORKSHIRE DALES Anglo-Saxon farmsteads
Anglo-Saxons in the Dales
The western Yorkshire Dales boast a regular catalogue of Anglo-Saxon place-names, but until recently no sites conclusively dated to this era had been identified there. However, new discoveries in the region are beginning to change this picture, as David Johnson reports.
Thanks to extensive excavations in the Vale of Pickering, it has long been known that the eastern uplands of North Yorkshire are speckled with rural settlements of the Anglo-Saxon era (5th
11th century). Over in the western Yorkshire Dales, however, the picture is completely different: no conclusively dated rural sites from this period had been identified from the entire region – despite the conspicuous number of modern villages in this area bearing unmistakably Anglo-Saxon names.
Recent research has begun to redress this balance. A major breakthrough came in 2011, during a community project investigating a small, isolated structure north of Horton, nestling in Upper Ribblesdale, in the eastern foothills of Ingleborough, which we interpreted as a ‘shieling hut’, or a base for summer grazing. Samples of charcoal, taken from the building’s floor, were sent away for radiocarbon dating, and the results were game-changing. Ranging between AD 660 and 780, they represented the first physical evidence for Anglo-Saxon activity in the area. The hunt was on for more.
BeLOW Recent discoveries in the shado w of Ingleborough, a mountain in the Yorkshire Dales, have revolutionised understanding of the area’s Early Medieval past. Here the lower of two Anglo-Saxon farmsteads under excavation at Brows Pasture can be seen on the right.
current archaeology | www.archaeology.co.uk 14
November 2014 |