University Excavations at
Work carried out by Huddersfield
amateur archaeologists in revealing the mediaeval secrets of Myers Wood,
near Kirkburton in West Yorkshire, has been praised by English Heritage
Heritage, the body responsible for classifying and protecting important
archaeological sites, sent a top-level team to see for themselves the
discoveries made in the wood. The work, which was funded by the Heritage
Lottery Initiative, was carried out over a two-year period by members
of the District Archaeological Society, in partnership with experts from
After the two-hour inspection
tour, Neil Redfern, the York-based Inspector of Ancient Monuments for
West Yorkshire, had no hesitation in declaring Myers Wood to be a site
of national importance.
The inspectors examined a 700-year-old
iron-making site described by Dr Gerry McDonnell, an expert in ancient
metallurgy at the University of Bradford, as the most complete site ever
excavated in the north of England. Many unique features, including furnaces,
charcoal platforms, ore-roasting areas and a raised smithing hearth, have
been excavated and carefully recorded. Many pieces of mediaeval pottery
have also been extracted and classified.
Who the iron-makers were,
the technology they were using, and over what period, has been the subject
of months of laboratory analysis at the University, and a research group
has been searching historical archives. Evidence is pointing to monks
of the Cistercian order who were renowned iron-makers and known to have
land close to Myers Wood in mediaeval times.
Spence, the Archaeological Society's joint director of the project, said:
"We were able to show the inspectors evidence of mining, quarrying, ditch
and wall building and a complex system of water management. The archaeology
extends far beyond the iron-making site and has shaped the whole landscape."
expert Dr Gerry McDonnell has been part of a team examining the work carried
out on a mediaeval site in Myers Wood, near Kirkburton in West Yorkshire.
English Heritage and the landowners,
the University of Huddersfield, will now agree a policy for the long-term
protection of the wood and its archaeology, whilst continuing to allow
public access to what is now accepted as a very important heritage site.
It is anticipated that the
Archaeological Society and the University of Bradford will be allowed
to continue their explorations, following a full landscape survey required
by English Heritage.