North East RCZAS NMP: The NMP element of tha Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey
This survey, carried out to National Mapping Programme (NMP) standards, formed the initial element of Phase 1 of the North East Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey (RCZAS).
The survey encompassed an area extending from Whitby in North Yorkshire to the Scottish border. This was defined as an area including the intertidal zone and a minimum of one kilometre inland of the High Water Mark.
The mapping, which covered an area of 560 square kilometres, was completed in summer 2008, and with desk-based assessment was used to inform Phase 2 of the RCZAS.
Inter-tidal, coastal and estuarine archaeology
The primary aim of this project was to enhance the record of the coastal archaeology of north eastern England, and identify sites at short and medium-term risk in the coastal hinterland. Although the north east coast is generally more stable than further south in East Yorkshire, erosion still poses a threat in some areas.
The English Heritage funded assessment was undertaken by Archaeological Research Services Ltd. Over 1,200 records were created or amended in the National Record for the Historic Environment (NRHE), an increase of 61% to the pre-existing record.
Archaeological features from the Neolithic to the 20th century were mapped. The majority of features were Second World War in origin, almost exclusively military coastal defences.
Earlier monuments included Neolithic and Bronze Age barrows, a number of Iron Age multivallate forts, medieval settlement and post medieval industrial workings. The foreshore also revealed a diverse archaeological record including wrecks and fishtraps.
The industrial heritage
Industrial archaeology varied throughout the project area, depending on the local resource. Collieries were common in Northumberland, and alum working in North Yorkshire, Redcar and Cleveland. The remains of a number of alum workings are gradually slipping into the sea north of Whitby.
As is usual on coastal margins throughout the country, Second World War features were the most common. These included airfield bombing decoys, anti-aircraft batteries, and dense concentrations of shoreline defences.
These beach defences would often consist of anti-tank blocks, barbed wire, pillboxes and coastal batteries. The historic vertical photograph sources were invaluable for mapping much of this military activity, as most were removed immediately after the war.
The images used on this page are copyright Historic England unless specified otherwise. For further details of any photographs or other images and for copies of these, or the plans and reports related to the project please contact the Historic England Archive.
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Historic Places Investigation
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