|10 January 2010
Ancient monument found on North York Moor
Archaeologists have discovered a monument in the North York Moors (England) which could date back more than 4,500 years to Neolithic times. Aerial surveyors from English Heritage flew two sorties over moorland after a wild fire swept across 62 acres, revealing a prehistoric stone enclosure and at least 20 stone cairns. Although the site had been plotted on maps, a blanket of heather concealing the terrain meant little was known about it. The scheduled monument measures about 485ft by 246ft (148 x 75m).
"Establishing what the monument was used for is a tricky question," said David MacLeod, Senior Investigator from the English Heritage's aerial survey team, who is hoping to unlock some of the scenery's secrets. "We can't rule out a ritual significance - perhaps we are looking at a graveyard. It stands as a reminder that the history of North Yorkshire is far from done and dusted, but is still being written."
Graham Lee, an Archaeologist from the North York Moors National Park Authority, admitted attempts to precisely date the site were 'fraught with difficulty'. "It could be 4,500 years old, or date back even further," he speculated. "The site shows signs of later activity too, notably in the Bronze Age and also in the 20th century, with some evidence of stone removal. A similar site has been recorded on Fylingdales Moor, which was also revealed after a much larger moorland fire in 2003. This is also thought to possibly be Neolithic in date." Wessex Archaeology will now perform a ground survey to examine the features further. Their report is due later this year.
Sources: Scarborough Evening News (31 December 2009), Culture24 (6 January 2010)
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