Archaeologists investigate a deserted medieval village, Nina Garness, Tranby


From July 16, for 3 weeks, archaeological excavations took place at High-Hunsley, in the east of Yorkshire. This event was managed by ethos heritage.

The field which was excavated was marked as a medieval village on the ordinate survey map of 1854. There are also some elements of a medieval village on the ground surface, for example, the corridor running through the middle with house platforms on each side. however, there are also uncommon elements, they have a hollow on each side of the house platforms which is almost surrounded by a chalk boundary. Another is that the corridor seems to have gone up to meet the crossroads which is still theirs today. The pottery they found consisted of many jug handles, beautiful pieces, and the house had a tiled roof and floor.

Emma Samuel said: ‘At first we thought it was probably just, you know, just a bog stand isn’t the best term, but, you know, kind of people who almost live off the environment or maybe because we know it was also connected with Durham Cathedral, so maybe the tenants of Durham Cathedral did a bit of farming”.

“High-Hunsley was essentially the gathering point in the eastern constituency for the Pilgrimage of Graces”, “A rather significant event in Tudor history”

After Hull gave up the pilgrimage, two aldermen from Hull came to High-Hunsley to discuss what was to happen next, Samuel said, “something was going on there and the fact that it then pretty much disappeared , so it’s very strange.”

High-Hunsley falls within the parish of Rollie. a hundred years after the pilgrimage, the vicar of rollie had a falling out with the church and took a load of his parishioners to America as Puritans and took the first printing press to Harvard.

Along with rich and interesting finds and history, archeology is not an easy task. Securing funds and participants for commercial archeology is a challenge and requires a great deal of time and patience. To be an archaeologist you need a degree and for a degree job the pay is not good. Samuel says, “the particular kind of community digs that we want to do, we really want to open up archeology to a wider variety of people because there’s an element of, it’s almost a middle class preserve because that the way archeology is set up at the moment you have to be able to afford it”

Two of the dig volunteers, Alex Donaghy and Leon Cowell, shared their experiences at High-Hunsley.

“I thought it was very informative. They gave me a lot of responsibility, which I liked and I learned a lot from it. I also think it was good to meet other people, different types of people who are interested in archaeology, it wasn’t just you know the people I thought were the older generation doing archeology. archeology, so these community projects are actually a pretty good mix. –Donaghy

“It was a very good experience not only for me as a student who wants to gain more experience, but it was really great to meet people” – Cowell

Donaghy and Cowell are also studying archeology at A level,

“I knew I wanted to go to college, and I knew I wanted a career in archaeology, so I guess my motive was to try to get better for a career and give myself a better chance of getting a employment in archaeology” – Donaghy

“I always, I always liked that as a subject. I always grew up loving history. “You grow on things like the Time Team and Indiana Jones” – Cowell

Ethos Legacies is setting up a high Hunsley committee to lead where they would like it to go and plans to reopen the excavations next year.


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