5000 years of history revealed in West Yorkshire excavations
Before starting the construction of a new residential development in Mickletown, West Yorkshire, Barratt David Wilson Homes Yorkshire West needed to mitigate any risk of damage to or destruction of potential heritage assets. Consultant Prospect Archaeology commissioned the project on behalf of its client and awarded the mitigation excavation to Headland Archaeology, an RSK company.
The project was complicated by poor site conditions and many more complex archaeological features than anticipated, all combined with a challenging deadline. This meant that a flexible approach to resourcing and staffing was required to complete the site work within the allotted time frame.
The excavations were the first large project carried out by Headland’s Leeds office in the Yorkshire region. The fieldwork was conducted in 2016; the assessments and analysis were completed by summer 2017. The excavations, at seven discrete locations covering just over 1 ha of land, revealed several phases of human activity spanning roughly 5000 years, from the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age through to the Iron Age, Roman, post-medieval and modern periods. Various features, including a pit alignment, a ring-ditch, boundary ditches and numerous small external pits, were excavated in the central and eastern parts of the site. Post-medieval activity consisting of a well and a stone-built structure was present in the north-western corner of the site.
Notable finds were three complete 18th-century Blackware jugs that were deliberately placed in the foundation cut of a wall. Although the artefactual material recovered during the fieldwork was sparse, effective environmental sampling and radiocarbon dating have helped to provide a chronology for the site, thus providing a snapshot of the activities and development over 5000 years from the early Bronze Age through to the Roman period and then much later in the post-medieval and modern periods.
This work satisfied the attached planning condition, so the client was able to go ahead with the planned programme of work; the houses are now built and available for residence.