Numerous archaeological remains in Lincolnshire and the surrounding area have been unearthed as part of the on the onshore construction phase of Ørsted's Hornsea Project One offshore wind farm.
When fully operational in 2020, it will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm capable of producing power for well over one million homes. The wind farm will be located 120km off the Yorkshire Coast, and the onshore cable route runs for approximately 40 km from Horseshoe Point, east of Tetney, to a new substation in North Killingholme, North Lincolnshire.
Aerial view of saltern site, North Coates
The team at Wessex Archaeology have been working with Ørsted since August 2015, alongside staff from consultants Royal Haskoning DHV and contractors J. Murphy & Sons Limited. Work has included trial trenching, excavation, watching brief, earthwork survey and historic building recording during pre-construction and construction phases of the project. The archaeological works throughout the scheme have been monitored for three local planning authorities by archaeologists from North Lincolnshire Council, North East Lincolnshire Council and Lincolnshire County Council, as part of planning conditions.
Richard O’Neill, Wessex Archaeology Project Manager said:
“Large linear schemes like this can be challenging; we’ve had seventy people working on the scheme over two years with some pretty inclement weather at times. Work has included excavation of two Iron Age settlement sites in North Killingholme, prehistoric farming activity and a Romano-British settlement in Stallingborough, Romano-British settlement sites in Tetney and Holton-le-Clay, and medieval moated sites in Harborough and South Killingholme.
"One of the more interesting finds was a medieval burial found near Killingholme. The individual was not buried at the medieval hospital or cemetery which we know existed three miles to the north west. The body was actually found in the upper level of a field boundary, on the outside of a moated enclosure.”
Key finds from the scheme have included:
- Two human burials (one medieval and one Roman) near Killingholme
- An array of finds predominantly pottery and animal bone, but also metalwork (coins, fragmented brooches, a ferrous knife and nails) and quernstones
- Marine and fresh water shells were commonly found; oysters seem to have been a particular favourite in Tetney during the Roman period
- Recovery of Bronze Age pottery at a site in Holton-le-Clay
- Further late prehistoric / Romano-British settlement activity in Tetney
- Evidence of an unexpected Anglo-Saxon settlement in Laceby with finds from the site including a decorated worked bone comb, worked bone pins and spindlewhorls
- Two medieval / early post-medieval salt production sites (salterns) in North Coates.
Medieval ditches and ceramic
Bronagh Byrne, Environment and Consents Manager from Ørsted said:
“Most people wouldn’t associate renewable energy sources with historical artefacts, but it just goes to show the variety of activities needed to build an offshore wind farm.
“We are burying our cables as we understand the sensitivity to the surrounding landscape and the importance this is to local stakeholders and residents. A lot of work goes into deciding where the cables will be buried, including environmental and technical assessments and considerations from local stakeholders. Working with Wessex Archaeology, we can be confident that any artefacts are handled delicately and we’re delighted to see they’ve unearthed so many items spanning decades of history.”
All the archaeological excavations have been completed in advance of cable installation. Archaeological monitoring during excavation of the cable trench is ongoing and further monitoring will be carried out during reinstatement works in key areas, with monitoring fieldwork scheduled to be completed in 2018.
Post-excavation assessment and reporting work is also ongoing with over 27,827 artefacts recovered weighing 569 kg in total being processed, along with approximately 8000 litres of soil. The results of the archaeological excavations will be published in due course providing an insight into how the landscape of this part of Lincolnshire has been both utilised and transformed from prehistory through to the present day.