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East Yorkshire ALSF National Mapping Programme project

The East Riding of Yorkshire Assessment of Archaeological Resource in Aggregate Areas project was funded by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF). It mapped six sample areas in the East Riding of Yorkshire to assess the archaeological resource of the Holderness area, a characteristically low lying, intensively farmed landscape with pockets of medieval earthwork survival. Other archaeology tends to be plough-levelled.

A black and white oblique aerial photograph showing the earthworks of a medieval settlement
Medieval earthworks in Holderness photographed on 26-OCT-1998. Toft and croft boundaries are aligned on a hollow way and the remains of ridge and furrow lie behind them (NMR 17197/57). © Crown copyright. HE.

The project

The East Riding Aggregates Assessment project (ERAA) is an element of the Desk-Based Resource Assessment and Research and Management Framework of Aggregate-Producing Landscapes in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It is operated by Humber Field Archaeology (HFA) and funded by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF).

The air photo mapping element was carried out to National Mapping Programme standards by Alison Deegan and Daniel van den Toorn. This team was based with English Heritage’s Aerial Survey and Investigation team (now Historic England’s Aerial Investigation and Mapping team) in York. The project’s pilot areas together cover 94 square kilometres and range in size from 9 to 20 square kilometres. Mapping began in August 2007 and was completed in February 2008. New records were created for 213 monuments or monument groups and a further 21 existing monument records were amended or enhanced.

Colour map of Yorkshire region with blocks outlining character areas in different colours and previous NMP projects in blue outline
Overview of the ERAA project area, the ERAA study blocks (shaded grey), the six AP pilot areas, the Joint Character Areas and other large-scale mapping projects. © Alison Deegan

The archaeology

As is frequently the case, air photo mapping in these six small pilot areas have revealed landscapes of surprising time depth and complexity. Features have ranged from the Bronze Age through to 20th century military sites. Prehistoric monuments are represented by a small number of round barrows which, with one exception, are seen as cropmark ring ditches. A few other site types may also be pre-Iron Age in date but the morphological evidence is inconclusive. There is at least one small group of Iron Age square barrows near Burton Agnes. This is perhaps a reflection of this location’s proximity to the Yorkshire Wolds where Iron Age cemeteries are a particular feature.

A black and white aerial photograph showing an arable field. The cropmarks of several square ditched barrows can be seen
A number of square barrows can be seen in the pale area of this crop, near Burton Agnes photographed on 02-AUG-1974. The image has been contrast stretched to enhance the visibility of these features (NMR 776/126) © Crown copyright. HE

Enclosures of possible Iron Age or Roman date are more common than pre-Iron Age features. These are recorded singly or in small groups at 39 locations within the pilot areas. Most of the enclosures appear to be of simple rectilinear plan, occasionally with internal sub-divisions

Many appear in apparent isolation and quite often in areas that were still under upstanding ridge and furrow in the middle of the 20th century. No doubt this is due in large part to the underlying soils and geology. Enclosures sit on small islands and ribbons of freer draining deposits such as sand and gravel. They are interspersed with expanses of alluvial clays and silts which are less likely to produce cropmarks.

A colour oblique aerial photograph showing arable fields enclosed by straight boundaries.
Cropmark of a pair of conjoined rectilinear enclosures of probable Iron Age or Roman date photogrpahed on 19-JAN-2000 (NMR 17316/05) © Historic England
Desk-based Resource Assessment and Research and Management Framework of Aggregate-Producing Landscapes In the East Riding of Yorkshire

Desk-based Resource Assessment and Research and Management Framework of Aggregate-Producing Landscapes In the East Riding of Yorkshire

Published 1 February 2008

A management overview and summary of resources and results from the National Mapping Programme air photo mapping of the Holderness area of the East Riding of Yorkshire.

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.

For further information on a project or any other aspect of the work of the Remote Sensing Team please contact us via email using the link below.

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