Broadcast 13 March 2005
Wessex Archaeology was commissioned by Videotext Communications Ltd to undertake a programme of archaeological recording and post-excavation work on an archaeological evaluation undertaken by Channel 4’s ‘Time Team’ at Skipsea Grange, Skipsea, Holderness, East Riding of Yorkshire, centred on NGR 517400 455000. Skipsea Grange lies one mile to the south east of the village of Skipsea, alongside the main road south to Hornsea, and some ten miles to the south of the town of Bridlington.
A magnetic survey undertaken by GSB Prospection Ltd has identified a plethora of anomalies associated with a settlement and field system complex that extends over an area of more than six hectares. Indeed, it was not possible to establish the full extents of the site in the time available.
The evaluation revealed that the extensive archaeological remains on the site belong to several different phases of activity. The earliest of these appears to date to the Iron Age. Although the sherds of pottery recovered from these features are very similar to sherds of Saxon pottery, there is some evidence to support an Iron Age attribution to these sherds. Small quantities of unstratified Roman pottery suggest that there was some Roman activity in the vicinity.
The main phase of activity identified in the evaluation trenches relates to Saxo Norman and medieval activity. It is likely that many of the features identified in the geophysical survey relate to this phase of settlement – certainly the location of the ridge and furrow ploughing indicates that the contemporary settlement was substantial. Evidence from this phase takes the form of boundary ditches, possible trackways, ovens/kilns and also structures, whilst the material recovered includes pottery, animal bone, fine whetstones, a lead vessel and iron tripod, as well as slag from iron smelting and smithing. This substantial settlement does not appear to have been mentioned in the Domesday Book, although it would have lain in the parish of Cleeton. The absence of common later pottery fabrics appears to indicate that it was abandoned by the mid 13th century – a period in which Skipsea Brough was also in decline.
After its abandonment, the site is likely to have become open fields until the enclosure of the land in the post-medieval period. A single post-medieval ditch was found, along with a single 17th century token and a small number of post-medieval sherds of pottery.