Dig up for national accolade

The Burnby Lane excavation is one of five projects nominated for a top archaeology accolade.
The Burnby Lane excavation is one of five projects nominated for a top archaeology accolade.
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Pocklington’s Iron Age excavation on Burnby Lane has been nominated for a prestigious national award that now goes to a public online vote.

The Pocklington Heritage Partnership, formed to find a permanent home in the town for the dig’s artefacts, heard archaeologist Paula Ware announce it is one of five nominations for ‘Rescue Project of the Year’ by Current Archaeology magazine – the UK’s leading archaeology publication.

The Burnby Lane excavation is one of five projects nominated for a top archaeology accolade.

The Burnby Lane excavation is one of five projects nominated for a top archaeology accolade.

Pocklington is the only northern nomination and up against an Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Norfolk, a Neolithic settlement from Anglesey, a Bronze Age cist on Dartmoor and a Neolithic causeway near Stonehenge.

Current Archaeology’s annual awards celebrate projects, publications and people judged to have made outstanding contributions to archaeology.

It is now down to the public to decide who wins. The simple voting process is done online at: https://www.archaeology.co.uk/awards/rescue-project-year-2018.htm

A Heritage Partnership spokesperson said: “Burnby Lane just keeps coming up trumps and producing more surprises, it’s really put Pocklington on the map.

“The nomination’s brilliant news, but we’re probably the smallest project on the list and need all the local support we can muster, we hope locals will get voting and tell their friends and families.”

The dig, rated of international importance, produced unique artefacts, and the on-going post excavation analysis is likely rewrite the Iron Age prehistory of East Yorkshire.

The dig was commissioned by David Wilson Homes ahead of their Pavilion Square housing development; and Paula, managing director of MAP Archaeological Practice, said: “We worked closely with David Wilson Homes to ensure the site was recorded to its full potential and the artefacts preserved for future generations. It is a great example of what can be achieved when house developers and archaeologists work together.”

The MAP team found a thousand artefacts, mainly Iron Age but some Saxon. Grave goods included a sword, spears, knives, remains of a shield, glass and amber beads, brooches and intact pots.

But perhaps the most remarkable find was in the excavation’s final days, when a chariot was uncovered in the roadside verge at the front of the development where it had somehow survived for over 2,000 years, the first chariot and charioteer with two horses attached discovered in Britain since an excavation at Arras in 1817. 

Pocklington items were sent to the British Museum, Harvard, and universities across England for analysis, and are expected to disclose more, including hopes that DNA and isotope testing may reveal links between the Iron Age peoples of East Yorkshire and Northern France.

The preliminary project report is expected to be published in 2018.