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.