• Microliths
  • Quern Beehive
  • Pocklington Burial
  • Cup-and-ring-rock
  • Cave Bear

Prehistoric Yorkshire

A rich and complex prehistory

In Yorkshire, the earliest evidence of human occupation goes back around 125,000 years, but it is only from around 10,000 BC, at the end of the last Glacial period, that continuous occupation occurred. The intensification of settlement during the Later Bronze Age and Early Iron Age then led to large scale land division notably in the Later Iron Age.

The county's ability to attract human settlement is demonstrated by a wealth of sites and finds, extending from early hunter/gatherer sites to the activities of the first farmers, who left behind their various ceremonial monuments and the wide range of burial evidence.

Yorkshire’s rich and complex archaeological heritage covers all prehistoric periods and landscapes: from the Mesolithic site of Star Carr to the huge Neolithic burial mounds or ‘howes’ of the Wolds, from Bronze Age stone circles, burial cairns and rock art on gritstone Pennine moors to Iron Age chariots on the Wolds, from the pre-glacial Palaeolithic harpoon found in Victoria Cave in the limestone scars above Settle to the unique Neolithic henge complex between the Swale and the Ure at Thornborough.

To learn more

Copies of the most comprehensive and up-to-date survey of the prehistory of the county are available from the Section’s Secretary

Manby, T.G., Moorhouse, S. and Ottaway, P. (eds), ‘The Archaeology of Yorkshire: an assessment at the beginning of the 21st century’ Yorkshire Archaeological Society Occasional Paper No. 3, Leeds. £20.00 Or, for a shorter guide to the highlights of the period – the most important prehistoric sites and artefacts – use the following links:

If like us you are fascinated by these aspects of Yorkshire’s past, why not join us?  Or you can read more about the Prehistory Research Section