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Skipwith Common, North Yorkshire, Outline Landscape Survey

Blythe, Kathryn (2008) Skipwith Common, North Yorkshire, Outline Landscape Survey. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Oxford Archaeology North (OA North) was invited by Natural England to undertake a programme of archaeological survey of part of Skipwith Common on behalf of Escrick Park Estate (NGR SE 6539 3721, approximate centre). This was intended to inform the appropriate conservation management of the common. The survey was undertaken in April 2008.

The project comprised a documentary study and a landscape survey. The documentary study entailed an investigation of the following sources: the North Yorkshire Historic Environment Record (HER); the National Monuments Record (NMR); maps held by the East Riding Record Office; and the OA North Library. The landscape survey was a rapid surface investigation to identify the existence, but not record in detail, the surface archaeological monuments within the study area, which were then located using a differential GPS system. Eighty-seven new sites were added to the gazetteer as a result of the survey.

The earliest activity in the vicinity of the study area is attested by possible Mesolithic microliths found during excavations in 1940s and findspots of Neolithic flints.

Four scheduled Bronze Age barrows are located within the study area and there are a number of other barrows in the wider area. Two additional possible barrows were identified during the walk-over survey. A series of parallel banks has been surveyed across the study area, extending for over 900m. The date of these banks is not known, but it is
possible that they represent the line of an historic boundary, which may have its origins with the Bronze Age, although the banks themselves may be a later marker of the

A scheduled Iron Age square barrow cemetery is located in the north-west portion of the study area at Danes Hill. These barrows have been excavated at various points from the eighteenth century onwards and appear to comprise a main group of approximately twenty barrows and a smaller group of approximately five barrows to its east. Some of these barrows were destroyed by a Second World War airfield, but a number have been identified during the walk-over survey.

A possible Iron Age enclosure is located towards the eastern side of the study area, which was surveyed during the walk-over survey. In addition several, possibly associated, ditches were noted in this area. An extensive area of cropmarks has been identified as part of the National Mapping Programme of the Vale of York to the immediate north of the study area.

Evidence for the medieval and post-medieval use of the common has also been identified during the survey. Sand pits were noted on historic mapping and a number of ponds, noted on both the historic and current mapping, probably originated as sand pits or areas of peat cutting. Two plantations were noted within the study area on the historic mapping, and the remains of the banked boundaries of these plantations were identified during the walk-over survey. Parts of boundaries on the north, south and western sides of the common were recorded during the walk-over, as were possible paths and trackways thought to date to the
post-medieval period.

In 1940 part of Skipwith Common was requisitioned for use as Riccall Airfield, an operational bomber base for the No.1658 Royal Air Force Heavy Conversion Unit during the Second World War. The north-eastern part of the airfield is located within the studyarea, including part of a runway, a perimeter track with heavy-bomber dispersals distributed around it and a number of buildings. A bomb dump is located towards the central part of the study area, positioned some distance from the airfield in case of enemy bombing or accidental explosions; a number of bomb storage buildings are located in this area. Other buildings are located across the study area and include four air raid shelters,
two component stores and several buildings of unknown function, as well as associated features.

Flying stopped at Riccall in November 1945 and from 1948 to 1957 the airfield was used as an RAF storage site. By 1985 the main use of the site was for agricultural purposes and
many of the airfield buildings had been demolished, with parts of the runways removed by 2002.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > North Yorkshire
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology North
Depositing User: hall
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2022 13:06
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2022 13:06
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6569

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