|31 August 2008
Prehistory project in West Yorkshire
A prehistoric moorland site overlooking Bingley (West Yorkshire, England) is to be investigated by a team of archaeologists and members of the local community. The project at Stanbury Hill, on the edge of Bingley Moor offers the chance to learn more about the Bronze Age past, especially rock art, which could have been used as a territorial marker.
On the small hill are no less than 22 separate archaeological sites or features, including eighteen examples of prehistoric rock art believed to date from the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age, at least six possible Early Bronze Age burial cairns and several lines of possible prehistoric walling, as well as find-spots for Late Neolithic flint tools, all dating from 2,500-2,000 BCE.
The Stanbury Hill Project, a collaboration between Bingley and District Local Historical Society and the Department of Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bradford, has been set up to investigate the site. It has been awarded £49,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and aims to get local people involved and learn more about their past.
Project director Keith Boughey, said: "Stanbury Hill is a relatively undisturbed prehistoric moorland site. As such, it provides a unique opportunity for both archaeologists and the local community to learn more about the Bronze Age past, especially the rock art, as well as providing volunteers with the experience and skills of an archaeological dig at first hand, supervised by a department of archaeology with a first-class record."
Members of the society and other volunteers, supervised by archaeological staff from the University of Bradford, will carry out topographic, photographic and geophysical surveys; excavate at least one of the rock art panels, at least one of the possible cairns and some of the other features; help with post-excavation recording and analysis; disseminate results via exhibitions, talks and publications; involve local societies and schools.
The cultural significance of prehistoric rock art has only recently started to be understood and this project aims to try and understand the site, what it was used for and what sort of landscape it existed in. One theory is rock art represents a territorial marker between land inhabited by people and the wild beyond. The rock art panels and cairns are believed to represent a sacred space which protects the tamed and domestic from the untamed and wild – or the realm of the living from that of the ancestors.
The project will be officially launched at a public meeting at the Eldwick Village Memorial Hall on Saturday, September 20, from 10.30am to noon. Work will begin during the late summer of 2008 and is due to be completed before the end of 2009. Those interested will need to attend the event to register. For more information about the project go to the Bingley and District Local History Society website at bingleyhistory.co.uk or contact Dr Boughey on (01274) 591736. Alternatively e-mail him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources: Yorkshire Post (28 August 2008), Telegraph & Argus (30 August 2008)
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