Confirming the Claremont sale

So Claremont is sold at last – after several false dawns and even a last-minute complication on Friday morning (raised by a third party involved in financing the development, and much to the frustration of everyone else). The sale completed late afternoon on Friday.

Tomorrow, I’m told, builders will be at work. The scheme is for serviced accommodation, a cross between hotel and longer lets. Leeds CC conservation officers are heavily involved, internal walls are to be retained and there’s close attention to protecting historic features, inside and out.

I don’t think there’s a single one among us, those who’ve know the building as society headquarters over all these years, attended meetings there, used the library and archives, who hasn’t been saddened to lose such a wonderful place. Clearing it out and navigating the sale process haven’t been easy either.

It had to be, for there really wasn’t another option. Now it’s happened, it’s a wrench and a relief at the same time. I’m going to share more thoughts about YAHS’s past and future in the coming days. Meanwhile here is a message to society officers, just received from the new owners. I hope it reassures YAHS members, and all who appreciate Claremont, that the building is in considerate hands:

“I would just like to thank you for the time, effort and kindness you showed us over what was at times a stressful sale. We will try very hard to look after Claremont as we understand it’s important to yourselves, the society and indeed Leeds.”

Visit to Ecton copper mine, Derbyshire

The Council for British Archaeology, East Midlands, has arranged a visit on Saturday 3rd June, to Ecton Copper Mine, a site of national importance from the Bronze Age to the 1880s, near Warslow, Derbyshire.
Meet at 10am at the lay-by on the west side of Ecton Hill, approx 2 miles south east of Warslow, just off the B5053 (SK 096582; DE6 2AJ), in the direction of Alstonefield
Walking will mostly be on footpaths, old tracks and grassland, but includes long steep gradients both up and down Ecton Hill (with stops). Stout walking boots are recommended.
There is no charge for the walk, but please let the organisers know in advance if you intend to join the visit, preferably by e-mail to

Latest news from Skipsea

Thanks to Morag Fyfe for this update:

Jim Leary and a small team were back at Skipsea 13-17 March, conducting further research into this enigmatic site as part of the Round Mounds project. Local Castle Studies Group members, who are also members of the YAHS, visited on Wednesday and were shown round by Dr Leary. This year activity is centred on the earthworks to the west and south of the mound. An earthwork survey of the outer bank and ditch was in progress when we arrived and two small archaeological evaluation trenches are planned. One of these excavations is a narrow slice from the top of the outer bank to the bottom of the ditch. This excavation has been placed towards the north-west end of the outer bank, near an opening through it which may mark an original gateway. The team have located the original ground surface but have been unable to reach the bottom of the ditch due to waterlogging. They have attempted to overcome this by coring but have been unsuccessful so the depth of the ditch remains unknown at present. A number of finds have been recovered including 3 pieces of bone and a surprising number of pieces of late medieval pottery from the top of the ditch fill. The pottery is a puzzle at the moment as there is no obvious source for it. The gradiometer survey, referred to in an earlier blog and of which we saw a printout on our visit, suggests the densest occupation lay at the southern end of the site and not near the position of this trench. The other excavation is, hopefully, sited over a pit recorded in the survey but it was in the very early stages of excavation, the turf only having been removed. The object of the two excavations is to try and find more evidence for the Iron Age period of the site in order to strengthen any future grant applications. The visit ended with a trip to and climb of the mound. There was much discussion amongst our group of the exact spread of the mere and the purpose of the various banks still visible.

The visit was arranged by Philip Davis the founder and manager of the Gatehouse website  the best source for information on castles in England and Wales. Also present was Peter Burton who is organizing this year’s Castle Studies Group Annual Conference on ‘Castles of North Yorkshire’ based in Harrogate in April.

Key Concepts in Public Archaeology: free ebook

Message via our Prehistory Research Section:

“UCL Press is delighted to announce a brand new open access textbook that may be of interest: Key Concepts in Public Archaeology. Read it free online.”
Key Concepts in Public Archaeology
Edited by Gabriel Moshenska, UCL Institute of Archaeology

This textbook provides a broad overview of the key concepts in public archaeology, research field that examines the relationship between archaeology and the public, in both theoretical and practical terms. While based on the long-standing programme of undergraduate and graduate teaching in public archaeology at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, the book also takes into account the growth of scholarship from around the world and seeks to clarify what exactly ‘public archaeology’ is by promoting an inclusive, socially and politically engaged vision of the discipline.

Written for students and practitioners, the individual chapters – which can be read independently – provide textbook-level introductions to the themes, theories and controversies that connect archaeology to wider society, from the trade in illicit antiquities to the use of digital media in public engagement, and point readers to the most relevant case studies and learning resources to aid their further study.

This book is published as a ‘living book’ on UCL Press’s innovative digital platform. The first nine chapters are published in February 2017, with further chapters being added over the following months, to form an ongoing and developing resource on this fascinating topic.

The Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland: free conference in Edinburgh

The Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland: results, implications and wider contexts conference

This conference (Friday 23rd – Sunday 25th June) will explore some of the results of the AHRC-funded ‘Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland’ project and to set these into wider contexts. Papers will be presented by members of the Atlas team as well as by colleagues working on related themes within and beyond Britain and Ireland.

Note that attendance is free, but ticketed, so registration is required. Details here.

Invitation to Free War Memorials Workshop, York, 5 April

Here’s a message from Anna Wilson of Civic Voice:

“It is over two years since the Prime Minister announced a national programme to survey and restore many of the country’s First World War memorials and about 18 months since the First World War Memorials Programme began.

Since then, dozens of workshops have been held across the country to inspire action and encourage communities to save their local war memorial.  Did you know it is estimated that 10,000 war memorials are at risk?  Did you know that there is no complete database of all the country’s war memorials and their current condition?  We want to change this.
Civic Voice, the national charity for the civic movement, is running a free workshop in York on 5th April, 9.45am – 1pm.  Come and find out more about the programme and how you can identify and record the condition of your local war memorials. From the workshop you will gain:

  • Background information about the programme
  • Training to undertake a simple condition survey.
  • Training on how to record survey results on the War Memorials Online website
  • Information about funding for war memorial repairs and conservation
  • A resource pack containing all the necessary information to get you started.

To reserve your free place at the workshop visit here  or contact Civic Voice on 0151 707 4319 or email.

I hope this email provides enough of an introduction to the programme in order for you and your members to consider getting involved.  It is a great opportunity to make a real and lasting difference to an important part of your local heritage.   If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.”

New data sheet on Later Bronze Age Spearheads

News from the Later Prehistoric Finds Group:

The Later Prehistoric Finds Group are pleased to announce our latest finds datasheet is now available online here.

Object Datasheet No. 3: A Short Guide to Later Bronze Age Spearheads: by Richard Davis

We are very grateful to Richard for creating this useful and clear potted guide to such a vast assemblage of finds. If you wish to find out more about these artefacts please do refer to Dr Davis’s PBFs or contact him if you have any further questions (references and contact details are on the datasheet).

Our datasheets are all available to download from our website and include:

Datasheet 1: Early and Middle Iron Age Bow Brooches (Adams, S. 2015)

Datasheet 2: Early Iron Age Socketed Axes (Boughton. D. 2016)

and Datasheet 4 on glass beads is currently in preparation.